Ayr artist looks to childhood memories for inspiration

A young Ayr artist has given childhood memories an unsettling twist to create a series of atmospheric work which has gone on display in Aberdeen this week.

Gemma Travers Degree Show 2015Gemma Travers (21) is about to graduate with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from Gray’s School of Art and has just unveiled her final year work to the public as part of the art school’s annual Degree Show.

The former Wellington School pupil, who has also been invited to take part in the 135th annual exhibition of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour (RSW) and the Compass Gallery’s New Generation 2015 show, has produced a range of atmospheric paintings which see her take everyday objects from childhood memories and place them in new surroundings to unsettling effect.

She said: “I’ve explored the idea of the shared memory with this work – I believe that the artist is only half the painting and want the viewer to have an input to the work as well. There is definitely an underlying darkness to my work but it’s a playful darkness.

“I draw on distant childhood memories and domestic objects in the hopes of establishing a dream-like familiarity with my collective audience.

“Much like a photo album of private memories, my aim is to guide the imagination to a place of unguarded speculation but this is contrasted by surrealist themes creating an ambiguous tension of a dubiously unsavoury storyline.

“Childhood memories have been my starting point for a lot of my work, as I think you have to access something in yourself as a starting point. In my very recent paintings something began to change.

“I’m really interested in popular culture and censorship and that’s an area I’d like to explore.”

Following her graduation in July, Gemma is now starting to look ahead to what the future holds for her.

“My time at Gray’s has been amazing,” she said. “If I could go back and do it all again, I would do it in a heartbeat. I’m definitely glad that I decided to come to Aberdeen.

“After I graduate, I’m hopefully going to move to Glasgow and continue my painting alongside working. There are a number of residencies that I would like to apply for, including some collective ones that I’m really interested in as it is great to bounce ideas off other people.”

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Jenny RushCommunications Officer | Design and Technology