Professional Membership is for artists who are actively practicing professionally within one or more branches of the Visual Arts and is by selection only in recognition of their talent and dedication in this field. The Professional Members Selection Committee 2015 was comprised of 7 Professional SSA Members, including The President and Vice President.
Tessa Clowney works with oils, tar paper, wax, acrylics, ash, charcoal, mono printing and collage. More recently she has also worked with liquid rubber to make casts of tin cans, bowls and jars as well as gravestones.
‘A cast made from liquid rubber will reveal all the dust, grime or pollution that was ingrained in the original object. Worn and aged surfaces which evoke a forgotten past have often been an inspiration in my painting.
Containers have intrigued me in their primal function of survival as well as the religious and symbolic elements. We take containers for granted, but from the earliest evidence of humankind until mass production, all containers were highly valued.’
Jean Duncan is Artist in Residence with the Centre for Environmental Change and Human Resilience at Dundee University.
(CECHR) aims to tackle some of the pressing issues facing the world today especially around food, water, energy and health futures. The scale and complexity of these challenges requires collaborative research and interdisciplinary problem solving.
‘Working alongside geologists, geographers and plant scientists my interest is first in gaining an understanding of their specific research and then making drawings and prints in response to it. Often my role is one of facilitating public engagement with the science through visual arts.
I am currently working on a series of etchings that reflect changes in agriculture and the effects of intensive farming on the landscape. An important aspect of this is developing my understanding of the etching process and of how to use the technique to present layers of line and colour in one image.’
‘My wooden constructions are a synthesis of assemblage, collage, and traditional craftsmanship. Timber is culled from old furniture carcases, farm buildings and skips. I select pieces that have an accumulation of surface markings and general evidence of human traffic. Traces from missing locks, hinges and structural joints also have a particular resonance for me as they refer to previous incarnations. This visceral combination of wear and history imbues the material with an almost totemic quality.
The titles of each work refer to various locations where the fragments used in the work were found, as in ‘Prestongrange’. In some of my pieces the connection between the place and the mood of my work is significant, in others it is more arbitrary.
The splicing and editing of original patinated surfaces to create a recontextualised single entity throws up serious formal challenges. As a musician, these dynamics of rhythm, tension and discord are familiar territory.’
Through her work Alison Grant explores the relationship between the cycles of the natural world and our experience of time. Taking inspiration from the environment she follows her thoughts working in a variety of media including painting, printmaking and film, to develop and express her ideas. She slowly builds up bodies of work that represent the journey as each idea is explored, experimenting with methods and materials always searching for the illusive responses that better express the idea.
‘My most recent exhibition The Shape of Time explored time and the way we experience time set within the framework of the lunar cycle and tidal cycles of a site on Loch Fyne. Linear time is embodied by the timing and execution of the site based studies and the tidal location, both physical manifestations of the passing of time and the lunar cycle,.Within this work I also explored my experience of, and responses to, individual moments of time that are impossible to measure in a linear way but can only be experienced.
I am currently on a journey amongst the history of Wiltshire.’
Su Grierson is a visual artist whose main practice utilises, video, image and sound, to present land and landscape from differing non traditional perspectives. Working on a project basis, she exhibits in galleries and venues in Scotland and extensively abroad.
‘I aim to visually and aurally stimulate understanding and awareness of the land. Living on an organic family farm in Perthshire, I am also actively involved in developing contemporary art and supporting artists living outside of the urban centres.’
Working since 2013 with Kyra Clegg as Black Tent Video, they collaboratively produce the ongoing Video and image project ‘Land of the Living’ in which they create video and images around their personal engagement with the Scottish Landscape.
A further strand to her practice began in 1997 when she was invited to collaborate with Choreographer Rosemary Butcher. This resulted in performances showing at Tramway and the Traverse Theatre. This was followed by several residencies and projects with perfomers.
Since 2008 she has been a core member of Heartwood Artists, a variable group creating joint projects with a woodland setting and in 2015 within the Art House at Stirling University Macrobert Centre.
Ewan John is a practicing artist and lecturer, currently producing works of art based on museum exhibitions, especially low budget, independently run, local interest exhibitions focusing on specific historical characters.
‘After creating a fictional character I build them a convincing biography using a combination of found objects, specifically made pieces and ephemera and present this in the context of exhibition or museum display, the desired effect being that the whole work is, at first glance, entirely believable and likened to a museum or local interest exhibition in towns across the country.
I use humour to allow me to develop the character in conjunction with their historical profession and use images of myself as the character to achieve a recognisable component in the work. The essential elements I consider to be important are the attention to detail, the research for authenticity, especially historical and ultimately, the presentation, be it slick and contemporary or jaded and in need of a makeover.
I intend to continue this series of historical homages to fictitious characters exploring various eras and seek to engage a wide variety of viewers with the works believable look and humour.’
Fiona McDonald is a visual artist based in Northeast Fife, Scotland. She uses installation, drawing and performance.
Recurring themes in her work are memory and the fragility of the human condition.
‘For more than ten years I have been making small trips mainly around Scotland, sketching and taking photos of the landscape and flora. Having collected my source information I create prints inspired by the dramatic and beautiful views I have encountered.
I am fascinated by landscape from the textures and colours to its form and composition. When I am drawing the landscape, especially in more remote areas, I feel incredibly content when I observe and record everything before me. Recording it so that I can keep its memory with me. Whether it is an invigorating blustery day or one of utter stillness and astounding light, I want to capture the moment and the serenity I felt there and take it home with me. Encountering raw, elemental and often beautiful landscapes and documenting their ever changing character is what draws me away from the city where I live and work. The absence of people in my prints reflects a need to escape the ‘clutter’ of the city and the busyness of my thoughts. I find the experience of drawing outdoors restorative and I hope this feeling is conveyed to the viewer when they look at my prints.’
‘My work pays attention to integrity and healing through attentive labour and ritual process. ‘Mindful Actions’ incorporate deep ecology, myth and significant symbolism; these actions are often ‘Emergency Interventions’ – Social Sculpture, with the sole intention of restoring balance.
My work is chiefly performative, process and lens based; installations of sculptural artefacts concern the aftermath of ritual process. Working intuitively with the environment, woad, ochre, charcoal, natural found materials, felted wool, wood, copper, bees wax, mead, animal parts and objects I have carefully made myself.’
“‘Nowadays’ is a civilisation in which the prime emblems of poetry are dishonoured. In which serpent, lion and eagle belong to the circus-tent; ox, salmon and boar to the cannery; racehorse and greyhound to the betting ring; and the sacred grove to the sawmill…. In which money will buy almost anything but the truth, and almost anyone but the truth-possessed poet.”
Christine Wylie’s art practice demonstrates systematic ways of working with mediums that explore line, form and space. In printmaking, installation and photography, the artist uses light and shade to produce works based on geometric constructs. The compositional potential of lines and planes and the apparent absence of colour, combine to create images that suggest presence and absence, space and non-space.
More recently focusing on printmaking, the artist folds white paper into geometric shapes, which are photographed on a white background under bright sunlight to cast shadows in some areas and reduce form in others. The image is then processed into a solar plate etching (photogravure).
View all Professional Members’ pages here.