Lorna Robertson is a Scottish artist recognised for her colourful paintings of domestic surroundings that convey nostalgic tones. Her artwork combines oil painting with collage and features fragmentations of texts, figures, and still lifes.Read More
Robertson was born in Ayr, Scotland. In 1990, she graduated from the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Robertson continued her studies at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and completed her Post-Graduate Diploma in 1991.
Robertson enjoys the silence of painting as a medium. She believes that paintings have no certainties or firm beginnings and endings. Her paintings are sentimental and evocative, and often blur the boundaries of abstraction and figuration. Robertson's paintings allow room for interpretation and encourage an open-ended discussion regarding their subject matter.
Robertson works on small and large paper pieces, as well as large canvases. Her work usually develops from an individual shape or pattern that she attaches a range of imagery to. This imagery often references fragments of Robertson's own memories, like a dress that her mother made and wore when she was a child, or a situation from the past revisited and reinvented.
Leisure Line (2015–2016) is an oil on canvas painting that portrays a faceless woman standing in a colourful dress. The background features a patchwork of shapes and patterns including flowers, plants, and snails. The phrase 'Leisure Line' is written out in a variety of colours on the left-hand side of the painting.
Robertson often references imagery from old fashion magazines and Vogue illustrations from the 1920s and 30s. In Leisure Line, Robertson depicts a woman—perhaps a model—trapped in a painting. The woman is wearing a stylish dress and red boots but has no face. Faceless women are a common motif in Robertson's work and convey the artist's interest in depicting the polarity between figuration and abstraction.
On a Scottish Shore (2020) is another oil on canvas painting that depicts several faceless women dressed in decorative clothes among a flurry of densely coloured patterns and shapes. Vividly coloured shells, sketches of seaweed, and patterns of ocean waves adorn Robertson's canvas.
Robertson's painting is expressive and gestural. The small fragments of Scottish seaside memories juxtaposed with the anonymous and fashionably dressed women suggest a tangle of nostalgia, intimacy, and the unknown. Robertson's painting toys with the viewer's interpretation and readability of the different imagery on display. Her distinct use of colour and shape creates a series of paradoxes that portray both specific and unspecific moments in time and space.
In 1989, Robertson was the recipient of the Summer Scholarship from the Hospitalfield School of Art in Arbroath, Scotland. In 1990, she was awarded the John Kinross Travelling Scholarship to travel to Florence to research and develop her artistic practice.
Lorna Robertson has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions.
Selected solo exhibitions include Thoughts, Meals, Days, Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh (2022); Kodachroma, Glasgow Project Room, Glasgow (2013); This Dark Ceiling, Intermedia Gallery, the Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA), Glasgow (2008); The Overlooked, Atelier Am Eck, Düsseldorf (2006).
Selected group exhibitions include Once Upon a Time, Flora Fairbairn at The Portman Estate, London (2022); Faces in the Water, Ingleby at Cromwell Place, London (2021); Brexit: Mail Art from a Small Island, Sipgate Shows, Düsseldorf (2019); Psychopathology of Everyday Life, Glasgow Project Room, Glasgow (2011).
Lorna Robertson's Instagram can be found here.
Phoebe Bradford | Ocula | 2022