18 January – 2 March Public opening: Saturday 18 January, 11am – 1pm Gallery Talk by Dennis Coutts: Saturday 18 January, 12pm
Bonhoga marks the start of its 20th anniversary celebrations this week with the opening of the first show of 2014. Dennis Coutts returns with another showcase of captivating images from the 1960s in Shetland. After the huge success of Sixties’ Exposure at Bonhoga in 2012, Dennis agreed to revisit this prolific era for this sequel exhibition.
All the photographs in the show have been laboriously hand-printed in the darkroom by John Coutts, Dennis’ son, resulting in a beautiful body of work, with over 50 striking images of life in pre-oil era Shetland. All the photographs are for sale, mounted and signed by Dennis, another opportunity to obtain a traditional print from this unique archive.
As part of the public opening of the exhibition on the 18th January (11am-1pm) Dennis will be giving an informal talk about his work in the gallery. As last time, it promises to be a lively presentation of wonderful anecdotes, fuelled by Dennis’ encyclopedic knowledge and huge bank of memories.
Dennis worked as a commercial photographer from his studio on The Street, established in 1959, combining press photography with family portraiture, social reportage and his own interests in natural history and the landscape. Dennis’ incredible talent for photography - particularly portraiture - is highlighted by the quality of composition, at a time when the art of photography was quite different to that of the digital age today.
This exhibition marks the start of a busy year at Bonhoga, in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the gallery. Bookending the gallery’s exhibition programme with Dennis Coutts is the Tate ARTIST ROOMS On Tour exhibition of work by internationally acclaimed war photographer Don McCullin in November, in a partnership show with Shetland Museum and Archives at Da Gadderie.
Jane Matthews, Exhibitions Officer at Shetland Arts, explained: “We are just delighted to have such a busy celebratory year of fantastic exhibitions at Bonhoga. I am pleased that Dennis will kick off the year with another stunning collection of images. And then, within the same year, the work of Don McCullin - arguably the greatest war photographer of all time. Both McCullin and Coutts were both at their most prolific in the 1960s, photographing very different elements of human activity, from very different perspectives, but both with great artistry and passion.”
In the lower gallery is an exhibition by painter and printmaker Kirsten Welsh. Her semi-abstract paintings are predominantly inspired by land and sea, and greatly inspired by two years she spent in Shetland working as an art teacher. Complementing this in the cabinet is craft from across the UK.
Everyone is welcome to the opening of the Dennis’ exhibition on 18th January from 11am-1pm, with a short talk by Dennis at 12pm. The café and shop will all be open again as usual from Saturday.