An exhibition of slate mosaics by artist Dugald MacInnes in the new Atlantic Islands Centre on the Isle of Luing in Argyll is proving highly popular with visitors and locals since running from the new venue's opening in May 2015.
It would be hard to find a more appropriate opening exhibition for the Centre since MacInnes sources most of his slate from disused quarries in Scotland, particularly on the islands of Seil and Luing. He has exhibited in Scotland, the USA, England, France and Italy, and has gained awards both domestic and international, but this is the first time his work has come home to a slate island.
MacInnes said “The materials that I use are employed to create texture and colour within, what I hope, are compositions that are interesting to the eye, led by the natural warmth of the stone.”
In creating his mosaics he also uses stone from Cornwall and the Loire Valley, and shales from Tuscany in Italy and from near his home in Kilsyth. Born in Glencoe and raised in Dalavich on Loch Aweside, MacInnes trained in mural design under George Garson at Glasgow School of Art and subsequently gained a degree in geology at the Open University as well as becoming an experienced archaeologist who is currently directing a major field survey in Perthshire. He is also a professional member of the Royal Scottish Academy.
He said “I grew up in Dalavich and on occasion my family would visit Seil and Easdale where I spent time exploring the slate quarries. Years later, when at art school, my tutor, George Garson introduced me to his small slate mosaics – Easdale slate no less - and the course of my life was changed.”
Images of an archaeological nature have been used in the Luing exhibition, for example, the standing stones at Duachy on Seil and at Kilmartin. However, in recent years MacInnes’s work has focused on a geological context in which he attempts to convey an emotional response to the vast geological forces that continue to shape our planet and the precarious nature of our existence in the face of these titanic forces.
The landscape, geology and archaeology of Argyll have, and remain, the principal source of his artistic expression. Prehistoric standing stones, rock art and the evidence of the Earth’s geological past found, for example, on the coast of the Slate Islands in the form of igneous dykes, lava flows, and the evidence for faulting and folding in the slate, all contribute to MacInnes’s creativity.
The coast around the Slate Islands has been intrinsic to his art and he returns to this beautiful part of Scotland as often as he can. A visit to this art exhibition in the Atlantic Islands Centre and to the slate shores of Luing make for a great day out and are highly recommended.
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