(painted relief construction (wood, board, paper), 60cm x 60cm)
The subject of this piece is three different phases of settlement and land use pattern, here, at least partially, separated into three layers of relief.
“First, the original cultivation ridges or lazy beds and the small rectangular fields that sometimes contain them, largely obscured by later cultivation in places, but still clearly discernable in others are associated with the ruined stone walls of the original black houses. On the ground there is little to see, but in plan from above their rounded corners and two room configuration emerges clearly. Later, this pattern has been overlain by the linear fields of a phase of crofting, although the croft houses themselves are not detectable. Finally, both patterns are in their turn incorporated into the large rectangular fields of the contemporary sheep farm. The present inhabited buildings are more substantial ‘white houses’ that date from the nineteenth century with chimneys in their gable ends and weatherproof roofs. These same houses and some of the ruined black houses may well have been occupied during the relatively brief period of true crofting.”
Again, though inspired by a real landscape on the shores of a sea loch in northwest Sutherland, the work itself strips away the details of this history reducing it to a series of geometric shapes intersecting and interacting, their place in the story of sequent occupance accentuated by their vertical separation. In this way the work becomes a model of reality an idealisation, an abstraction, resonant not of the specific, but of all those instances when and where that story has been re-enacted.
This work draws its inspiration from Ben Nicholson’s painted reliefs of the 1950s, and perhaps a little from synthetic cubism.