Thousands of people pass through the doors of Aberdeen’s historic His Majesty’s Theatre every week, but artist Jasmin Sutherland is about to give everyone a totally different take on the iconic building.
For her new exhibition in HMT’s Dress Circle Bar, Between Every Act, is a set of photographs that use the interior spaces of the theatre as sets - beautiful, quirky and dramatic in their own right but also in relation to the figure placed within them.
The colour, light, mood and composition are worked with through staging and improvisation to create a feeling of contrast, curiosity, beauty and darkness.
The exhibition is being staged by Grampian Hospitals Art Trust, in association with His Majesty’s Theatre, and will run from Saturday, March 22 to Sunday, June 15, with a private viewing on Friday, March 21.
“When I was invited to exhibit at His Majesty’s Theatre, I immediately thought it would be an exciting opportunity to photograph some of the interior spaces within the theatre building and work with the inherent qualities of rich colour, sumptuous pattern and detail, contrasting areas of lighting and Victorian design and layout,” says Jasmin.
“I was interested in using these as spaces or backdrops to explore, influence and develop themes and styles in my own work. I grew up in Aberdeen, going regularly to shows at His Majesty’s and have always delighted in the ornate, glamorous, almost decadent feel of the red and gold and white, the curving rows of red-fabric covered seats, the heavy curtains, the wedding cake style tiers of the seating and the boxes. The presence and beauty of the theatre in the Aberdeen skyline and city was also a constant in my childhood.
“Initially I thought I would take most of my images in the main seating areas but as the project unfolded, the spaces I was really drawn to photographing and working with were the areas surrounding or at the edges of this - the staircases and landings, the foyer and reception, the windows, areas often with of high contrast lighting and with unusual, fascinating, sometimes unexpected detail.”
Australian-born Jasmin Sutherland who now lives and works in Edinburgh has a BA (hons) and an MFA from Edinburgh College of Arts in fine-art Tapestry, has a particular interest in texture, colour, light and shadow, all of which directly relate to weaving and textiles. The female figure is often depicted in her work as well as a sense of drama, theatricality and performance.
She currently works at Garvald, in Edinburgh, teaching and facilitating art and craft workshops for adults with learning disabilities and supporting them to complete work to a standard that can be sold or exhibited.
“I find that the clarity and direction that is required to teach and enable others to express their skills and potential and to create and produce high quality work in turn helps me to be clearer about my outlook, process and direction in my own work,” said Jasmin.
“My current projects include facilitating a visually-impaired man to make work for an exhibition at the Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh in 2014 and directing a puppet show adapted from the story of The Selfish Giant.”