Artists Pamela and Erlend Tait, are husband and wife, based in the Black Isle they work and exhibit both individually and in collaboration.
In Tales From The North, An Tobar gallery brings the artists together to present a new body of work, which includes collaborative pieces that have been produced specially for this exhibition.
The work of both artists is figurative, their symbolic imagery rendered with impeccable technique is used to assemble complex and layered narratives. In doing so they bring their knowledge of Scotland’s natural environment and history and to create personal mythologies of a land existing in parallel to reality, a subcutaneous ‘otherland’ that exists under the skin of Scotland.
Exhibitions Co-Ordinator, Mike Darling said, “When Erlend Tait’s precision meets Pamela’s intuition something magical happens. In a pair of paintings that are an exploration of a personal relationship, Erlend’s intense portraits of a man and a woman are clothed by Pamela’s myriad spirit figures. It’s as if a Pandora’s box of imagery has opened to coat them with full body tattoos depicting their own hopes, fears and neuroses. This is imagery that seems to define the term modern icon.”
Pamela, who is an established painter started etching just in this past year, her progress in acquiring and implementing print’s demanding techniques is quite awe-inspiring.
She cites pareidolia (to perceive images in clouds, vegetation etc) as a source for her imagery. Looking at the trees in the woodlands around her home they reveal characters to her from which she forms intricate narratives, some joyful, some tragic.
Mike added, “There’s an almost tangible sense of joy in Pamela’s prints. It’s not very often that an etching imbues one with a sense of happiness but ‘The Goo-Ass Parade, Glen Affric’ does. Based on a group of Scots pine trees at Glen Affric, it puts one in mind of the monsters from under the bed in the mosh pit at a Biffy Clyro gig.
“Meanwhile, Erlend’s portraits have an iconic quality. They are drawn with precision both literally and in the use of symbolism. The figures appear to form a dramatis personae for an alternative Scotland, they are held within the picture space, their arms are unseen, their faces impassive but their eyes have a depth which is hypnotic.”
Erlend works in various media including stained glass. By drawing on his knowledge of the history and mythology of his Scottish and Orcadian heritage, he has developed a unique symbolism. For this exhibition he has cited as sources; the myth of St Conan and the Deil, science fiction and a personal observation of a halo around the moon.
Read an Art Scotland interview with Erlend Tait
Feature Image: Pamela Tait, The Goo Ass Parade