Caroline Gormley’s realist “Doors” series began during the start of the Covid pandemic, and three years on, has developed into her expression of Scotland’s social landscape.
Gormley has been painting for 10 years, and during Covid, focused on oil paintings on a rather unconventional material (toilet roll), before returning to large scale work to capture Scotland’s continued social unpredictability.
When asked why she decided to paint open doors, Gormley said: “I think it is kind of like watching the madness that is going on round about us. I have stayed in the same flat for 48 years but some things change and some stay the same. As you are going forward you are looking at everything- you are a bit confused about what’s going on and how to move forward- you are comparing life to what it was like in the past. And so, I painted doors; symbolising the opening and shutting of opportunities, looking forward and looking back.”
The first painting that Gormley began working on in this series features the Wile E. Coyote, from the Looney Tunes cartoon and is the painting which she views as a representation of her feelings being a shielder, unable to leave her home.
Gormley alludes to the black surrounding the coyote in this painting as, “the wires around my legs and toilet roll because all I could paint was toilet roll”. In her eyes, this painting is a representation of her view of the chaotic climate of that time.
When talking about her other paintings, Gormley noted a complete shift in her works, saying: “The second one I painted was about coming down to basics, the reality of coming out of Covid and some sort of calm. The third one is my flat, and that’s where it all began. A clean slate. I am still trying to work out what that painting is about.”
Gormley may still be thinking of the meaning behind one of her paintings, but she is in no doubt about realism being her calling: “ I try to keep it real, is what I am trying to say. I have been doing these paintings for a long time, but I haven’t been showing my work or anything like that, you think; “ why am I doing these?”, but that’s what you do.”
Gormley applies the view of depicting the real to the social world more generally. When asked why it is important for artists to capture Scotland in their work, she said:
“It is all very well painting pretty pictures, but I think you have to try and paint what you are living… I cannot say it in words, I can’t do it in writing, the only way I can get that across is in paintings. I want everyone to take what they feel from the paintings, but that is my expression of how I feel society is.”
The future for Gormley consists of more reflection and a continued effort to mentor aspiring artists, she said: “Moving forward, I am going to be doing one more door painting and then I am doing the kitchen sink. All of my work is about the situation and environment that we are living in. I run an art studio called ‘Made in Paisley’; we teach adults and children drawings and painting. We try to put across positivity, an environment where like-minded people can spend time together.”
You can visit Gormley’s studio at 69 High Street, Paisley, PA1 2AY