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RAMSAY GIBB | Painting by the Sea

COMME CA ART at the LOWRY HOTEL | The exhibition runs from 12.09.18 - 06.11.18



“The moment I laid my eyes on Ramsay’s paintings in his studio I knew they would be perfect for exhibition in the Lowry Hotel. The size of the paintings draws you into his seascapes where I could almost smell and hear the seas he portrays.” Claire Turner, Comme Ca Art


The sea and water has always been a strong theme in Ramsay Gibb’s work, but previously within the context of a broader view which would include land and sky. Those elements of landscape have now been gradually stripped away - “the secure ground of home”. Now the vast restless mass of water and the play of light has become the subject in his new series of paintings. 


The sea is beyond our everyday lives. We engage with and have knowledge of a tiny fraction of it. It makes great demands of a painter, is always tantalisingly beyond fully capturing in static paint. It seems to run through the fingers, evading possession. There is no single characteristic of sea water, it is foam, bubbles, stretched, compressed, sheer, chaotic, and often all of these simultaneously. What Ramsay portrays is fraction of time but it is essential to understand the moments before and after, the complete motion of which the painted moment is a small part. It is a paradox that only by investing many hours and layering paint that the beauty and complexity of that instant can be revealed. 


“The sea is often used by us a metaphor for the boundless energy and vastness of nature, its indefatigable strength, but in recent years that perception has started to change. “Ocean” has for a long time been a synonym for immensity, of things beyond our dominion, distance and time. Oceans divided us topographically, culturally, historically. Only the bravest would journey into its great unknown spaces. Old maps patched the known world like fragments pasted onto an emptiness of uncharted ocean. Engravers populated these ocean spaces with the wildest flights of our imaginations, monsters and lost civilisations, Now the prosaic flotsam of our modern world has trespassed where these fantastic creatures were thought to be. We are able to measure changes in temperature and sea level, the decline in fish species. The sea now has become the signifier of our carelessness. We now doubt its ability to resist. Vast oceans are now seen as vulnerable to our misuse, they are our conscience, and interest in them, my interest in them, is an interest that concerns and unites us all.” Ramsay Gibb


“The sea, the great unifier, is man's only hope. Now, as never before, the old phrase has a literal meaning: we are all in the same boat”. Jacques Cousteau


Ramsay Gibb was born in Irvine, Ayrshire in 1965. His early years were spent on the coast near Troon. Later his family moved to Lancashire, where he studied first at Bolton and then at the University of Brighton. He has lived on the Sussex coast then Suffolk coast. The coast and the sea and islands have inspired much of his work. Fuelled by a growing fascination for the North he has travelled and painted Shetland, the Hebrides, Ireland, Finland, Norway, The Lofoten Islands, The Faroes, Greenland and Russia. 


An important aspect of his work has been exploring the historical dimension of the landscape of the British Isles. For his 2011 exhibition “A first avowed intent: On pilgrim roads from Iona to St. David’s”. he spent over two years exploring pilgrim routes throughout Britain. Since early 2012 he worked within the broad area of early Northumbria, developing this theme further in following the old routes taken by pilgrims and holy men in this region’s golden age. The resulting paintings “The Pilgrim Coast” were shown in Northumberland in two separate locations as part of the region’s celebration of the return of the Lindisfarne Gospels to Durham. 


CLAIRE TURNER | | T: +44 (0) 161 273 5495


Claire Turner

CCA Founder

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