Curated Member Showcase April 2020 - Janet Melrose

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Apr 25th 2020

Every month we will showcase three Visual Arts Scotland members, spotlighting their work & practice.

These showcased members will be chosen by a monthly guest curator. The invited curator will select makers & artists that interest them from our amazing membership. This will be based on a theme of their choice. 


April 2020

Curator: Amanda Airey

Theme: Drawing

Amanda Airey has worked in the creative sector for over 20 years in a number of roles from bid writing, economic development and strategy. A fine art graduate, she continues her art practice focusing mainly on landscape and the natural world. She currently works at the Edinburgh Art Festival. 

Amanda is currently a Visual Arts Scotland Vice President.

"I particularly the fluid marks of Janet's work, especially in works such as henge and enclosure, which seem to vibrate and flutter on the page. They have a fresh feeling about them, vibrant and somehow full of the eternal possibility of hope.  Much needed at times like these!"


Janet Melrose works as a painter, much of her work being derived from the natural environment and her response to particular places. She workson large scale watercolours and assemblages. The last few years have seen Janet extend her practice into making three-dimensional pieces from found objects and paper. Much of Janet's work is about making connections between one element and another.

Tell us a little bit about your artistic background/education

When we moved to rural Perthshire over 15 years ago, I was reminded of the interests I had from childhood, a love of nature and naturally created environment. This was something that I had been interested in as part of my degree at Edinburgh College of Art and had taken a backseat whilst raising my two daughters. The return to a rural environment has given me the opportunity to work from nature again

Could you describe your practice?

Working within the landscape, I spent a lot of time outdoors, walking, drawing and observing. An aspect of my practice is repetition of marks and three-dimensional pieces, this process allowing me to make the shift in my thinking between left and right brain mode.

What are your art influences? Which contemporary artists/makers you admire and why?

I am attracted to people that make things like the ceramicist Edmund de Waal and the sculptor Phyllida Barlow. I also enjoy the work of Tania Kovatz and artists who practice cross-disciplinary.

What makes a good day in the studio for you?

A good day is being able to completely concentrate on the task in hand. I always begin with a repetitive piece of work, maybe just drawing lines again and again. This is a tool to allow other things to happen. I like to work between two and three-dimensions, one work influences the other. Coffee too, I need my coffee!

In the studio – music, audiobook, podcast, Radio or silence?

Since 2008 I have worked in silence as I found listening to voices tiring. However, during Covid-19 I have listened to BBC i-player and the narration of Hilary Mantel’s novel The Mirror and The Light.

What is coming up next for you and where can we see more of you work?

I am using the opportunity during lockdown to produce work which I otherwise may not have time to do when working towards exhibitions. I would hope to show that with the galleries that represent me. In the meantime, I have been learning to use social media as a way of widening exposure to my work.


Work pictured: As The Crow Flies

Read more about Janet: