In the studio: Elizabeth Ogilvie, artist
"It is my experience of the countryside that I am trying to convey to the public"
Saturday 11 January 2014
Elizabeth Ogilvie lives in a converted cinema facing the sea in Kinghorn, Fife, an hour north of Edinburgh, Scotland. She and fellow artist Robert Callender, her late husband, brought the cinema while they were working in Leith. “Our work had outgrown the studio, which was a very low old stable block and we could not see how the final work would look before it was installed. We decided it will give the work the opportunity to flourish in this new environment.”
When the building came on the market, it was derelict and they reclaimed it bit by bit, adding comfortable living accommodation along with many windows on the mezzanine floor.
There are two balconies, one looking seaward and an indoor balcony that allows Ogilvie another perspective on her work. It is in a particularly apposite position, as her artistic research is about water, and more recently about ice conceived through video, photography and installation. She is currently experimenting with blocks of melting ice suspended over a small pool, to be shown near to projections of glaciers in her forthcoming show.
Ogilvie was born in 1946 and brought up near the Cairngorms. “I was a great player with water when I was a child. I was fascinated with streams and rivers and spent a lot of time with another friend of mine just exploring.”
She credits her rural upbringing as having a profound influence on her work: “It is that experience of seeing and being surrounded by the countryside and the natural world that I am trying to convey to the public.”
It is not her aim to be overtly political, but she “expects the public to meet her half way”. Her show, soon to open in London, will also host a conference about climate, including as key note speakers, Inuits and Alaskan scientists.
Ogilvie does not heat the studio, wrapping up in thermals, saying it is appropriate to pursue her research into ice in the chill of the large room. Recently she has been researching in Greenland, flying from Denmark and landing in the disused volcanic crater that houses the remote airport.
She has befriended the local Inuit who use the ice cap as both their garden and hunting ground, harvesting plentiful fish through ice caps. It is with their guidance that she has begun to realize how “fearfully” they are reacting to the changing landscape.
“They are aware of the changes over the decades. There have been changes before but there is much, much, more now. As urban people, we do not look as we do not need to. They have to be aware of their environment.”
Ogilvie does not presently work with a gallery, saying that her need for one was replaced by her position as a teacher in a university. “When I am experimenting I can take big risks with exhibitions. I would rather that than feel ashamed about kowtowing to anyone else and what they are thinking.”
Elizabeth Ogilvie: Out of Ice, Ambika P3, London (p3exhibitions.com) 17 January to 9 February
TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre