Across this unusual ‘tablescape’ by Duncan Shanks, swoops a lone white dove carrying a daisy in its beak. The artist playfully gives us a ‘bird’s eye view’ inviting us to look down upon the busy surface of a table teeming with life. Jostling for attention are patterned leaves, cups, saucers, bunches of flowers in small bowls and jugs and a colourful bird in a cage. From its early Christian origins, a white dove – typically carrying an olive branch – is widely recognised as a symbol of peace. Doves in pairs are regarded as symbols of love and peace. In Japan, a white dove was traditionally associated with Hachiman, the Shinto (and later Buddhist) god of war, community and literature. The presence of a dove marked the expectation of peace that must follow conflict.
Primarily a landscape painter, Scottish artist Duncan Shanks takes his inspiration from the countryside around his home in the Clyde Valley, charting both the variations and the perennial aspects of the changing seasons. He works quickly and prolifically, often leaving paintings before they become overworked. Shanks has commented that ‘Confronted daily by change, it sometimes feels more telling to let a painting appear unresolved.’
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