THE work of Mearns artist D. E. Johnston is currently being exhibited at the Bank Street Gallery in Kirriemuir.
Entitled “By Shore and Field Edge”, almost all of the work in the exhibition has been produced in the last two years.
As the title suggests, it is inspired by the Mearns landscape and the shore at St Cyrus.
It is rare that Bank Street Gallery exhibits an artist “without training” but this status is one of which D.E. Johnston is rightly proud. An academic at heart (he is a graduate of both English Literature & Language and of Scottish Literature from Aberdeen University), he has studied the lives and styles of his artistic heroes – and painted - since a teenager. He chimes with the likes of Eardley, Wyeth and Gillies. These inspirations, whilst not immediately discernible in Johnston’s work, are manifest – look carefully at his images, his attention to detail and his engagement with time. Like Eardley, this local lad of the Mearns is captivated by the land and seascapes there. Like Wyeth, he is fascinated by time. The absence of training ensures Johnston’s approach is unique. He enjoyed an unusual wisdom in his youth - casting away “how to” books and magazines. An early trip to a Turner exhibition in Edinburgh afforded the young Johnston an opportunity to compare that Master’s technique against the instructions he was reading. When he realised Turner didn’t follow the rules, he threw the books away and his intuitive creativity took flight.
By Shore and Field Edge runs until September 21.