The Line Gallery in Linlithgow is briefly exhibiting the photography of one of its owners, Elisabet Thorin.  The exhibition, running until 20 November, has recently returned from Da Gadderie in Lerwick where it was part of the Lines of Connection exhibition.
Many of the photographs were shot in Elisabet’s native Sweden but the first to face the viewer arriving at the exhibition is a wild estuarial landscape, desolate, entirely unpeopled, with hills in the background.  Entitled Anticipation, it portrays virgin land, almost treeless but with a few stunted bushes pushing valiantly into the atmosphere, a vista which Elisabet sees as similar to how nature would have appeared at the end of the ice-age as growth re-established its place on the earth.  The power of the photograph is achieved by use of a red filter but the drama is in the content, an endlessly receding landscape of river, wild country and distant hills.  Perhaps, surprising then to find that the scene was shot between Bo’ness and Grangemouth and the background hills are the Ochills.
Soblekt, One of Many Summer Mornings shows reeds, bending in the wind, but also reflected in the water at whose edge they are growing.  Several of the other photographs continue this motif of reflections on water.
These are big images and although most of them are wild landscapes, Keep Ithaca in your Mind, offers a Mediterranean  island, with a village on a distant hill.  Ithaca, the ancient home of Odysseus, appears like the landscapes, distant, unable to be grasped fully or seen in clear detail, an impressionistic hill-side, a memory to be treasured, a home to which to return.
Dancing brings another form to the fore, the fore-parts of a magnificent grey stallion, face in profile, legs prancing, a partial view of power and elegance.  The final pieces in the exhibition have a tropical setting.   Mirror Image shows palm trees reflected in a mirror which itself is only partially visible; No Longer Home presents an empty window; and, in In a Corner,  autumn leaves blow in the rectangular corner of a building.  These are challenging images, almost dream-like, posing unstated questions:  what is reflected in the invisible top of the mirror?  What lies behind the blank window?  Where are the trees?
These stark, unpeopled images exemplify Elisabet Thorin’s technical skill but they also assert the power of nature and the loneliness of the artist.

The above article was first published in Lothian Life on 14 November 2012: http://www.lothianlife.co.uk/2012/11/photographs-by-siljes-elisabet-thorin/

Leave a Reply