If there’s one thing I wish Edinburgh had after viewing Jamie Primrose’s new exhibition, it’s a river running through it.
Shimmering Echoes features a new body of the Edinburgh artist’s work, on display at the Dundas Street Gallery until Sat 27th March.
Although a few Edinburgh pieces feature, the majority of the works depict London, Venice and Glasgow: cities where the might of their central rivers or canals define their character.
Most of the pieces on display are oils on linen or board, although a number of ink and paper works are also shown. Primrose readily admits that these are often used as reference studies for his oil pieces, although their sketchy, monochromatic nature have a style of their own. Whilst his oils often emphasise the drama of the sky or the reflective nature of light, Primrose’s ink pieces allow the cities themselves to dominate, highlighting the structures and the humanity within.
The bulk of the exhibition features the artist’s oils, which demonstrate his distinctive talent as a painter of light. Produced over the winter, many of the works have a cool palette, and capture those fleeting moments where the skies take on a unique, mesmerising glow and the water acts as a mirror for the colour and forms above.
Primrose is mindful of how the works will be curated when he paints them. Many of the pieces – such as a glowing series of small studies of the same Venetian scene at varying times of day – are designed to be seen together: the square format, framed by the artist himself, lends itself well to these grouped hangings.
Two works in particular stand out amongst those on display. The eponymous Shimmering Echoes is a large, square piece; a beautifully cool study of the Thames at Westminster, with the river cutting a dramatic sweep across the composition, its silvery band reflecting the glowing light from the sky above.
Another highlight is Misty Morning Looking Towards San Giorgio Maggiore. When viewed from a distance, this piece takes on an abstract quality, the dark blue of the foreground balancing the white strip of sky above. On closer inspection, the mist-enshrouded Venice architecture and the hazy, suggested shapes of gondolas appear, making this painting reward viewings from different distances.
Primrose cites other masters of light such as Monet and Turner as influences, but claims Whistler as his closest inspiration for these latest pieces. And whilst the works on display in Shimmering Echoes do call to mind such forebears, it is to his credit that each carries his own distinctive and beguiling stamp.
After this exhibition closes, Primrose plans to return to the studio and to Edinburgh. The recent snowy weather provided some rare conditions which he has already captured in photographs. He plans to use these to create works showing the city as it is seldom seen, and I am eager to see his interpretation of the city, draped in snow beneath dramatic – and shimmering – winter skies.