In 2015 Jane Hyslop was commissioned by Visual Art Scotland to create work for the annual exhibition, Royal Scottish Academy Galleries (RSAG), Edinburgh.
The Gardens | Edinburgh was conceived as a site-specific work that is centred around the core research question which asks: How can the book form, both visually and materially be utilized in innovative ways to effectively explore and share information in relation to the garden environment? This is explored through studies of history, topography and material brought together in the creation of tacit objects.
It is made up of a series of five artist’s books displayed in bespoke cabinets that explore two aspects of the site: Firstly, the development of the linen industry in Scotland during the 18th Century by the Board of Manufacturers and Fisheries for Scotland that was originally housed in the RSAG. And secondly, the layout of the gardens, it’s plans and the tension between designed formal arrangements and the indigenous plants that infiltrate these spaces underlining contrasts between rigid design and organic growth. These interests underline Hyslop’s continued research into the social and industrial history of Scotland and its impact on the land.
In particular, The Gardens I echoes the topography of the site and pares down complexities of history, topography and flora to offer simple and effective references to place in diagrammatic ways, in both two and three dimensions.
The book works combine histories and location through formats that deploy traditional materials and modes of making remodelled into innovative and experimental techniques. This is executed through the use of unusual forms and a drawing technique developed to allow gouache to be applied with a pen.
This work marks a significant direction in relation to drawing and artist books and pieces from the exhibition were purchased and later exhibited by the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and the National Library of Scotland.
An essay by Hyslop exploring the work was published in The Blue Notebook, Volume 11, No 1, 2016.