(acrylic on canvas, each panel 80cm x 60cm)
Again this work is an attempt to apply the symbolic language of aboriginal art to the landscape pattern of runrig cultivation, particularly as encountered in the Hebrides. The comments given earlier also pertain here in this triptych:
“This pattern is very reminiscent of some aboriginal art and in the similar way it it conveys a narrative and a mythology of a people. Like the aborigines they became a people outside, a people excluded and marginalised in the face of a colonising power. Unlike the aborigines whose spiritual narrative is written in marks and symbols, in their art, the record of the gaelic speaking pre-clearance communities is written in the surface of the land itself. It is this pattern that is the testimony to their toil and sacrifice in a demanding environment.”
The execution of these works, however, is different from the other Marks and Traces paintings in that there is a deliberate attempt to convert the reality of runrig into a stylised, symbolic language of marks that reflect aboriginal symbols more directly. The ground is acrylic thinned with PVA and water scraped across the canvas picking up contemporary field alignments. The rigs are applied over this in a standardised colour and form. The motifs in the central panel are derived from diagrams of Iron Age wheelhouses.