Journey (Aran Islands), 1986
Rigby Graham, MBE (1931-2015)
This painting is a monotype composed of several elements pressed into one piece of paper. The composition is a rare excursion by Rigby Graham into abstract act but unusually for that form incorporates a figurative watercolour painting.
What unites Rigby Graham’s work is an ability to tease extraordinary qualities out of ordinary subjects. In his words, ‘I found ordinary buildings, vistas, streets, canals, railways, warehouses and allotments of enormous interest. The more I wandered about and spoke to people, the more I drew, painted and wondered, and the more interested I became. It was not the aesthetic, nor the historical, geographical, social or economic patterns, it was not religious, the commercial, the industrial or the residential which interested me, but perhaps something of all of these, for I became increasingly aware of the passage of time and the way in which its passing had left its mark on everything’.
The ruined building in this composition is on the Isle of Aran. The ‘journey’ of the title of the painting is perhaps a reference to the actual journeys Graham made to Scotland and to Ireland. The squares of colour however, the eye and the arrow, point more obviously to the journey of perception and representation in the mind of the artist, selecting the colours and textures with which to paint his relationship with the subject.
Like all journeys this one represents both a journey outwards and a journey inwards.
The work was purchased by the College in 2017 from Terry Sole, a friend of the artist.