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gallery of Exhibited Works
Past and Present Work
For the past 33 years Joyce Cairns has lived in the former fishing village of Footdee, surrounded on three sides by water: to the west Aberdeen Harbour, to the south, the River Dee and to the East, the North Sea. This environment has been central to her work with ships and harbour paraphernalia, and the unique ‘shedscape’ of the village forming a charged backdrop to her autobiographical fantasies.
In many of the works the dominant female figure plays the leading role, sometimes idealised, sometimes painfully real: inhabiting a world of intermeshed fact and fantasy, luring the unsuspecting and being herself unexpectedly lured. In different contexts this siren epitomises hope ,or fear, death, compassion, loneliness or loss.
Senior Lecturer in Fine Art,
Duncan of Jordonstone College of Art, Dundee University
My early student works were influenced by the hierarchy, symmetry and flat iconic format of Byzantine and pre-renaissance painting by for example Cimabue. In 1972 I was selected by The Royal College of Art to paint a room-sized mural on the theme of ‘’The King is Dead, Long Live the King’ for the exhibition, Monarchy 1000 to be held in the Octagon in Bath. At the time this was an ideal commission, given my interest in symbolism, myth and mediaeval aesthetics. The room was 18ft x 13ft x 9ft and the work was painted on panels in London then transported and assembled in Bath. The detail illustrated here is ’Messenger of Death’. This was my first real experience of thoroughly researching the subject for a painting and my first opportunity to work on a grand scale.
The rising interest in figurative painting in the early eighties led to a reappraisal of German Expressionism and The Neue Sachlichakiet, particularly Max Beckmann, Otto Dix and George Gross. Compositionally and figuratively this had a huge influence on my work. Traces of Beckmann can be seen in the cramped and claustrophobic compositions of many of the works from 1986 onwards. Whilst the images are realistic, the space which they occupy is invented.