Rites of Passage
By Caroline McNairn

Subject Matter
Reg. Number

This print is divided vertically into three fairly clear sections, but beyond this division it is difficult for the viewer to establish what the picture represents, such is its complex mix of images. At the centre of the print there is what appears to be a gold-framed mirror with a white figurine in front of it; at the right, possible items of clothing and accessories such as a coat and a bag; and at the left an indeterminate shape.

Dark blue, yellow and white predominate. The picture has a somewhat frenetic quality, an effect heightened by the interacting lines and swirls; perhaps reflecting the agitation and change associated with the rites of passage, marking the change from one social status to another, which give the print its title.

Caroline McNairn (1955-2010) was born in Selkirk in the Scottish Borders. Her father was an art teacher and family friends included the well known Scottish artists, Anne Redpath, William Gillies and William Johnstone. Caroline was a graduate of Edinburgh College of Art (1972-1978) and became a well-known and respected Scottish expressionist painter who exhibited in New York, Chicago, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Moscow.

She lived and worked in Russia for almost a year in 1990 and was heavily influenced by the Russian Modernist art she experienced there. Caroline was an instrumental member of the innovative 369 gallery in Edinburgh with whom she exhibited her art worldwide in the 1980's. She returned to live in the Borders in the last few years of her life before her tragically early death in 2010.

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