By (author) Rab Wilson; Photographs by Calum Colvin
This unique reflection on the world of Robert Burns places a range of photographic artworks by celebrated Scottish artist Calum Colvin alongside poems written in response to each work by ‘weel-kent’ Scots poet Rab Wilson. Colvin’s multi-referential artworks are concerned with the very process of looking, perceiving and interpreting. The potential meaning of any individual piece is intrinsically linked to the viewer’s personal deconstruction of the image. Utilising the unique fixed-point perspective of the camera, Colvin creates and records manipulated and constructed images in order to create elaborate narratives which meditate on numerous aspects of Scottish culture, identity and the human condition in the early 21st century. At times witty, controversial and tender, the images are presented alongside poems in response by Rab Wilson which equally reflect on the life and aspects of Burns to dwell on who we are, and where we have been, toward what we may become. As Burns reflected through his art the world he inhabited, these works and words strive to reflect on a myriad of contemporary concerns.
CALUM COLVIN was born in Glasgow in 1961 and is Professor of Fine Art Photography at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee. Colvin’s artworks have been widely exhibited in venues as diverse as Orkney, Los Angeles and Ecuador. A practitioner of both sculpture and photography, Colvin brings these disciplines together in his unique style of ‘constructed photography': assembled tableaux of objects, which are then painted and photographed. His complex compositions are rich in association and spatial ambiguities. As well as being visually exciting, humorous and intriguing, Colvin’s work demonstrates that the art of the past is relevant in a modern society. His work is held in numerous collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Museum of Fine Art, Houston; The Victoria and Albert Museum, London as well as the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh and the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow. RAB WILSON was born in New Cumnock, Ayrshire in 1960. After an engineering apprenticeship with the National Coal Board he left the pits following the miners’ strike of 1984-5 to become a psychiatric nurse. His work has appeared frequently in The Herald as well as Chapman, Lallans and Markings magazines. Rab has performed his work at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the StAnza poetry festival at St Andrews, the ‘Burns an a’ That Festival’ at Ayr and has been ‘Bard of the Festival’ at Wigtown, Scotland’s National Booktown. Additionally Rab is a previous winner of the McCash Poetry Prize. In 2013 he was the first ‘James Hogg Writer in Residence’ and was formerly ‘Robert Burns Writing Fellow – in Reading Scots’ for Dumfries and Galloway Region. Currently a member of the National Committee for the Scots Language Resource Centre, Rab regularly attends the parliamentary Cross Party Group for Scots language held at Holyrood. He is a passionate advocate for Scots writing. He has recently moved back to New Cumnock, where he now lives with his wife Margaret and daughter Rachel.