SHORTLY before her early death in 2015, aged just 44, the idea of a retrospective exhibition of her work was discussed with the artist Katy Dove. The result, last autumn, was a memorial exhibition at Dundee Contemporary Arts, meticulously organized from a huge archive of works by its former curator Graham Domke. Concerned with colour, joyful, and thoroughly multi-media, ranging from drawing to photography, painting to animation, Dove’s work wore its own particular groove in the Glasgow art scene, to which she contributed much in the past decade.

The exhibition, which toured to the Highlands, finished in Thurso earlier this week, before making this originally unscheduled hop over the straits to Orkney, a short ferry trip away. As Andrew Parkinson, Pier Arts Centre curator, told me on the phone earlier this week, it was an opportunity they could not miss, given Dove’s past connections with the gallery. And so, on to the ferry came substantial numbers of video works, works on paper, prints and textiles, all stacked up in the gallery ready for unwrapping when we spoke.

Katy Dove was born in Oxford in 1970 and brought up in the Black Isle. She studied psychology before graduating from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD), where she mixed her varied art practice with music, something which continued for the rest of her life. Her work was quiet but important, included in Generation (2014), the National Galleries’ survey of the past 25 years of Scottish Art in and key solo exhibitions at a number of galleries in the UK, including Talbot Rice in Edinburgh, Spacex in Exeter and the Pumphouse in London.

Dove tried “to make work beyond language,” said Graham Domke last year, who spent a year going through the substantial archive and calls her a “pivotally important artist.” Her background in psychology and interest in art therapy influenced her work, he points out, which encompassed much “automatic, unconscious drawing and mark making, editing onto computer to produce work that came out of improvisation. The permutations of this kind of work are a reaching out to the infinite.”

They’re also beautiful and fascinating by turns, from the abstract watercolours exploring the colour chart to thought-provoking animations, delicate yet infused with a rhythmic sense and soundtrack. The “distillation of the everyday” into colour and form, the works are inspired by things as diverse as how the mind reacts to open space to how the world makes contact with the human body. The exhibition has altered substantially in each location, from the large space, curated thematically, at DCA, to the region in which Dove grew up “and absorbed influences”. When the exhibition opens tomorrow in Stromness, it will be different again, the works filtered into the small spaces and nooks of the Pier and bounced off the existing holdings of the gallery.

The gallery's relationship with Dove began with her involvement in Zenomap (Venice, 2003) and the subsequent exhibition organized in Scotland, and went on to include a number of shows in which she had taken part at Pier. The gallery has, recently, purchased two of her screenprints and her film, Meaning in Action (2013), created for her solo exhibition at Spacex.

“Her work fits quite naturally into our collection,” says Parkinson, pointing to the Pier’s strong holdings of the St. Ives School, including Ben Nicholson, Terry Frost and Patrick Heron. “It’s to do with her treatment of colour and the deep sense of abstract things that come together in different ways to create something new and exciting. Katy’s work is about joyful interpretation of movement and colour and light.”

Dove was a musician, too, an artist who enjoyed collaborating, from Muscles of Joy to Unit 13 to Full Eye. She also, along with her collaborators, made the soundtracks to all of her animations.

Parkinson says the gallery will show some of Dove’s ever-evolving animations in groups of three or four, highlighting the different facets of the work and Dove's progression over the years. Interspersed will be paintings, works on fabric and prints, to broaden the show to the whole of her output.

Pier Arts will also display Dove’s work alongside some of the cutting edge video work – primarily from the 1950s and 60s – of Orcadian filmmaker and poet, Margaret Tait. “Katy was well aware of Margaret’s work, as many artists of her generation are,” says Parkinson. Again there is the interest in colour, the abstraction, but there is also an echo in the way film, sound and these other elements are edited.

“All these things are unusual and common to both artists,” says Parkinson. "I hope that by showing a film by Tait in a separate room, visitors will assimilate that thought. Katy’s work, whilst it’s not a direct thing, has a similarity of thought or approach that results in work that resounds with Margaret’s work, rather than reflecting it.”

This is the final stop on the tour celebrating Dove’s vital, evolving vision.

Katy Dove – Movement & Light, Pier Arts Centre, Stromness, Orkney tomorrow to June 3