This Magister Litterarum degree show takes the form of two parts and a poem, but it is unified in its process, pigments and sociopolitical commentary.
My experience and knowledge of the landscape come from being embedded within it. By being in that direct relationship with place that I am brought into dialogue with the complexes of identity; as artist, insider, outsider tourist and landscape’s own mythology.
This is unstable and uncomfortable discourse of place, knowledge, cultural geographies, physical landscapes, codification, consumption and colonization that is both an instrument and an effect of power, but also a hindrance, a stumbling block, a point of resistance and a starting point for an opposing strategy.
I have worked and researched the idea of material as the metaphor of the sociopolitical observations, and use the metaphor as the material. Such that, it is both process and the chosen materials are congruent with the subject matter. These paintings are made by the same process that formation of landscapes and trees are made. Landscapes are made, shaped and coloured by water and minerals. Trees are water and minerals.
The Scottish-Americal naturalist John Muir in his diary entry on 27th August 1869 wrote about the movement of the different states of water and the sediment it contains.
Contemplating the lace-like fabric of streams outspread over the mountains, we are reminded that everything is flowing–going somewhere, animals and so-called lifeless rocks as well as water. Thus the snow flows fast or slow in grand beauty-making glaciers and avalanches; the air in majestic floods carrying minerals, plant leaves, seeds, spores, with streams of music and fragrance; water streams carrying rocks both in solution and in the form of mud particles, sand, pebbles, and boulders.
‘My First Summer in the Sierra’ (Published in 1911. Chapter 10.)
In art critic and writes James Elkin’s in his book ‘What Painting is’, he writes about the alchemy of painting. Elkin’s concluded that as painters we are trying to change the sludge brown of Materia Prima to alchemical gold. As such, in Elkin’s eyes all painting can be reduced to the foundations of stones and water.
I have explored the geopolitical history within Argyll, Scotland and the early formation of the United Kingdom from a detailed knowledge of place. The place is Boneawe and Furance, in Argyll on Scotland’s west coast. I have used water, pigments,hand made paper and wood.
Water is the fabric and history of Argyll, Scotland. Living with water in its various forms is the tenant of life in Argyll. Glaciers formed Glen Lonan’s geography; the tops where smoothed and placed erratic’s like ‘clach na carraig’ (Diarmid’s Pillar, Glen Lonan.)
Trees, to be more specific the Argyll forest was the North Oil Field of the 18th and early 19th century. Argyll’s wealth lay in its natural resource of Trees. Scotland new colonizers mined this wealth.
I have used water, watercolour, ink and gouache on paper with hand made wooden frames to explore the temporally of these trees and the geopolitics. Watercolours natural action on paper becomes landscape. A watermark blur of colour on paper become the shape of a specific tree in full summer foliage. I then draw the winter skeleton of that tree in side the blur. I have made the frames around the watercolours from native wood of that specific tree sourced in Scotland. The titles come from the Gaelic, the native tongue of Argyll and English. Behind this work are many pencil etches of trees. One could say that I too am ethongraphically mining Argyl’s recourses. However, I see it as an acknoledgment of their majesty and place in histroy.