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Close, gallery photo
Media release:

Described as ‘a hymn to the Scottish garden’ the exhibition close opens at the Bonhoga Gallery on 13th February 2009, documenting Allan Pollok-Morris’s journey through works of garden designers, plants people, artists and architects. The gardens are created against the natural backdrops of the Lowlands, Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and united by thriving North of the Border, despite the overwhelming impact of the demanding Northern terrain and the intense abbreviated growing season that we recognise at its most extreme in Shetland. Allan Pollok-Morris is alert to the qualities that set Scottish gardens and gardening apart. Shetlanders may also relate to Pollok-Morris’s belief that there is something spiritual about the journey that moves northwards.

Man’s relationship with the natural world is at the heart of Pollok-Morris’ photography. It is not his intention to put his own art before the art that he documents, rather to ‘capture light and produce images that allow these inspirational creations to be appreciated by the (viewer) as if there were there themselves.’

Allan Pollok-Morris grew up in the foothills of the Highlands, as he says, in Macgregor country. The Scottish dialect word ‘close’ is used to describe landscapes so inspirational that there, heaven seems closer to earth.

close is complemented in the Lower Gallery by Inspirational Objects, a solo exhibition of craftmaker, photographer and designer team Alison Milner and Steve Speller. Alison describes the exhibition as a ‘visual dictionary of simple, elegant forms.’ Her inspiration is the debris on the beach, the waste plot behind the corrugated iron fence and the back of the kitchen drawer. Of their collaboration, Milner and Speller say they share their ‘workplace, their ideas, enthusiasms, clients and worries.’

A new projection in the Stairwell Gallery will coincide with the opening of close and Inspirational Objects. The presentation documents the design process of the Independent Living Project’s new created space garden, led by Janet McEwan and Kristi Cumming, and funded in partnership by Shetland Arts Development Agency, Hjaltland Housing Association and Shetland Independent Living Project. The two artists worked in collaboration with clients of the Independent Living Project to design a low maintenance sensory garden that would ‘reflect the needs, interests, tastes and aspirations of the service users’, with inspirational visits to Rosa Steppanova’s Lea Gardens, The Shetland Museum, Lerwick Observatory, Enviroglass and Old Scatness.

The created space blog is at

All three exhibitions open on the 13th February 2009 with a preview on the 13th February 7.30 ¬– 9.30. close and Created Space run to the 15th March 2009, whilst Inspirational Objects will run to 19th April 2009.

Further information:  Mary Smith 01595743737

Notes to editors Shetland Arts Development Agency will receive £156,803 from the Scottish Arts Council towards the cost of foundation funding for 2008/09 to support its role in promoting and developing the arts in Shetland and assisting individual practitioners to achieve their creative potential.

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