Ramsay Gibb is a landscape painter, chiefly of the British Isles with a particular focus on historical and archaeological settings. He is well known for paintings that record journeys he has made in search of ancient pilgrim roads leading to sacred sites, and of remote and wild places
In his interaction with the landscape it is the history which lies beneath or is embedded in landscape which particularly matters to him. This is often juxtaposed with a keen eye for the most fleeting transitions of light and insubstantial phenomena of weather. What matters is the experience of the journey. His experience of movement through the landscape and the dynamics of weather give his paintings a sense of energy, of a significant moment on a journey. A pathway or track often snakes into the painting and a deliberately loose and textural foreground invites the viewer forward, to share his own footprints or scramble over the turf towards an irresistible destination on the horizon or the burst of light from the rising sun, as another day begins.
“These are landscapes of hope for in them the sun does not set but is seen to arise in anticipation of what the new day will bring”
—Sir Roy Strong
Ramsay Gibb was born in Irvine, Ayrshire in 1965. His early years were spent on the coast near Troon. Later his family moved to Lancashire, where he studied first at Bolton and then at the University of Brighton. During his time on the Sussex coast he started painting subjects in the landscape around the rivers Adur, Ouse and Cuckmere. In 1998 he moved to East Anglia, drawn to the region’s rich archaeology, in particular the slowly moving rivers, coastline and woodlands of Norfolk and Suffolk. In recent years he has returned to exploring the places which were the earliest inspiration to him, the coast and the sea and has a particular interest in islands. Fuelled by a growing fascination for the North he has travelled and painted Shetland, the Hebrides, Finland, Norway, The Lofoten Islands, The Faroes, Greenland and Russia. A result of exploring the historical dimension of the landscape of the British Isles was his 2011 exhibition “A first avowed intent: On pilgrim roads from Iona to St. David’s. Since early 2012 he worked within the broad area of early Northumbria, developing this theme further in following the old routes taken by pilgrims and holy men in this region’s golden age. The resulting paintings “The Pilgrim Coast” were shown in Northumberland in two separate locations as part of the region’s celebration of the return of the Lindisfarne Gospels to Durham. He now lives in the Forest of Bowland.
Since 1994 Ramsay Gibb has been solely represented by Francis Kyle Gallery London until its closure in summer 2014.
He participated first in that gallery’s “Jazz” exhibition (1995), a project for which he travelled through the Mississippi Delta to New Orleans painting the locations, rural and urban that inspired the music he still loves
Subsequently, he was a participant in the gallery’s exhibition devoted to woodland: “Per una selva oscura – artists take to the forest” (1995).
From 1995 onwards he has worked almost exclusively in oils, contributing to many of the gallery’s theme exhibitions, including:
- “The Saxon Shore: a portrait of East Anglia in the perspective of history” (1997)
- “Everyone Sang: a view of Siegfried Sassoon and his world” (2006)
- “Rodina: Twenty five Artists from the west winter in Russia” (2008)
- “That gong-tormented sea: contemporary painters pursue the idea and reality of Byzantium” (2009).
- “‘This Twittering World’ A celebration of T.S Eliot’s four Quartets” (2011).
Since 2003 the core of his work has focused mainly on subjects in Britain and in particular the landscapes of the North and Scotland.
He has had nine solo exhibitions with Francis Kyle Gallery London since 1998, including “Waterscapes” (2004), “In the Northern Seas” (2006), “A first avowed intent” (2011). The latest of these “The Pilgrim Coast” (2013), was first shown (July -September 2013) at two public venues the Granary Gallery, Berwick-upon-Tweed and Woodhorn Museum, Ashington.
More recently he has shown at the Fosse Gallery, Stow in the Wold, Gloucestershire, 2015, and had a solo exhibition “Silent Waves, paintings of mountain and coast” Art Decor Gallery, Whalley, Lancashire, March 2016, in summer 2016 at the Catto Gallery London as major contributor in the ” The British Landscape” exhibition.
In November and December this year he will be showing new seascapes at the Moncrieff-Bray gallery near Petworth, West Sussex.