Anna King‘s paintings are captivating, her pictures of abandoned spaces and disused buildings a subject many would pass by, disregard in favour of a more pleasing aspect. But for King these forgotten places, now empty of human endeavour, are part of us, of who we are and it is this which draws her to paint them, these derelictions that she turns into images replete with meaning and hope.
King’s compositions – in which she renders her subject matter with a sparse touch and sure line – are disarming and require close examination. It is what makes her work so special. By using oils and pencil King employs a clever yet subtle play on our preconceptions of what landscape painting is. Look closely; her simple, sparse scenes filled with grey Scottish and German skies may seem traditional but zero in on the sheds, buildings, containers and roads and you’ll see signs of abandonment, a wasteland, a tale of disintegration, of windows without glass, rusted metal and urban spaces being re-claimed by nature. You might say King’s work are pictures of a battlefield, of man against nature.
Here’s what she has to say about her work:
I love to explore empty, feral places: wastelands, abandoned buildings and barren pieces of scrub-land. I find myself in a no-mans land. Unclaimed territory, that, for a while anyway, I can have as my own. It’s an adventure playground that nobody meant to build, a desolate, wild expanse of cracking concrete and decaying structures. Once a hive of human activity, these forgotten places have no purpose left – but no rules either – and nature is slowly and relentlessly taking the land back.
You can see King’s work from 4th – 20th February at the Open Eye Gallery, 34 Abercromby Place, Edinburgh
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