'Stewards of the Undying Deer Cult Series: The Problem of the Glen'. Ink on Board. 41.5 x 67 cm. (for sale, email if interested)
Inspired by Edwin Landseer's 'Monarch of the Glen', which is now part of the #ScotNatGallery, who describe it evasively as 'for many people it encapsulates the grandeur and majesty of Scotland’s highlands and wildlife'. A nice gloss but as a man of the Scottish woods, so much is missing. No mention of the bald majestic highland's habitat destruction and deforestation caused by an increase in deer numbers. Nothing of our bizarre fixation which drove those numbers to increase, the cult of the wealthy to shoot for 'sport' and stuff the obligatory dead horned head on a wall. This incredible yet totally passive animal (herds swollen to long term habitat destruction) is venerated as the 'prize' while the old wild gods such as wolf, bear, lynx and boar are now allowed on the land in placenames only (positively the beaver has just had it's citizenship restored).
The red deer were a later wave of profitable killable lawnmowers, the first were the sheep which helped the clearances, both of these ungulates eat saplings which if left unchallenged for 250 years will stop any new trees from growing, therefore not allowing any old woodlands to regenerate.
Judge me by how many points my deadhead has (24), Landseer's had 12, making it a 'royal' stag by someone's account.
Thoughts such as these bubbled up regularly as part of the #rahoyhillsreserve residency, a rewilding nature reserve with far too many deer on it, however I think about these things whenever I drive to the remote isolated pockets of true highland majesty that still grow, where (for usually only a few square miles) one can be surrounded by the old forest, where some old wilderness can still be glimpsed, the one we almost destroyed completely.
I'm excited to have my work in the latest Kinblethmont Gallery exhibition, 'The Artist Gathering' is a group show and will open on the 24th of February, running to the 4th of March. The Kinblethmont Gallery is on a beautiful estate 10 minutes drive from Arbroath.
I will be exhibiting old and new paintings and relics in this exhibition, including this piece 'Pine Snags of Mar I', inspired by an old dead pine I met in Glen Derry. This is also one (the left) part of a diptych that started the new melted ink series I've been working on, enjoying the expressive glowing oriental marks against the contrasted dark European etching line. Thoughts of some where in the hanging highland woods of my mind.
Relic of Origins was shortlisted for the 2017 John Ruskin Prize, here are some images from the opening. The show runs until October in the Millenium Gallery, Sheffield.
Image credits: Kyle Noble_The John Ruskin Prize 2017: Master of all Trades, Millennium Gallery, June 2017. Photo: © Andy Brown
My thanks to the team at Grampian Hospitals Arts Trust, I enjoyed hanging the work with you. It was also great to talk to a number of hospital visitors during the hang, 'The Meiklian Project' is of course about the North East landscape that we have shared. For patients, staff and visitors I hope that my works can transfer some of the light and inspiration I have found from our archetypal mountain goddess Bennachie, the forgotten energies of the recumbent stone circles and the landscape of time twisted birch, pine and hazel. The exhibtion is runs until the 21st of July and features the recently reworked 'Forest Magick' and a number of pieces from the last few years.
Relic of Origins: Horse is going to be showing alongside 25 other intriguing artists from the 21st of June to the 8th of October at the Millennium Gallery, Sheffield. A great opportunity to bring an old relic of the Meiklian culture into the public domain. The space ship may holographically project all who behold back to the time of stone circle wizardry!
open until the 19th of FEB
I'm excited to be showing work alongside four other inspiring artists at the Royal Scottish Academy's exhibition 'The Artist Traveller' from this Saturday, 12 of November. Studies from my time during the Bothy Project, Inschriach and two night sky works (inspired by the hypnotic pine studded knolls and the cosmic voids above our heads) shall be on show, one of which 'Astral Abyss', will be on show for the first time! Click the image for more info