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Sam MacDonald

Sam creates impressions of fish and sea-life in various states using the tactile effects that metal, its processes and techniques have to offer. He has exhibited widely including most recently at the CLA Game Fair at Blenheim Palace with the Redspot artists.

Having grown up on Lewis, his move to Orkney enabled the artist's love of fishing to resurface and of course this began to influence his metalwork. Observing and catching the fish enabled him to study and contemplate the sculptural form of a fish, from the glint of the scales to the structure of the skeletal remains on the plate. Sam's interest tends towards the reputedly 'ugly' and predatory side of the sea; the remains of a fish after it had been filleted with its 'dead' eyes and the exposed beauty of a concise, rhythmical skeleton structure.

He utilises the concept of fossilisation with the idea of splitting a rock and discovering an impression, not the fish itself but the memory of a fish from an age before. The ecology of the sea and all water-life is of great concern to Sam, as is the question of what will be left to become fossilised from the age we live in. He enjoys working in lead as it is an ugly and poisonous metal, so he says there is a feeling of alchemy when crafting something of value from a supposedly dead material.In some pieces the fish appear between large sheets of metal as if viewed through the remains of a sunken superstructure. A strange aspect of this experience is how the mind's eye invents the hidden and disappearing parts of the group, assimilating a more rounded sense of the unique shape of each species than one might do studying a single specimen. Gold leaf is used to accentuate the flash of a synchronised turn of many separate creatures becoming a larger unified entity.

He enjoys the decorative aspect of the metal and seeks to balance shapes and colours, being influenced by simplicity to invoke a sombre contemplative feeling. Developing concepts on composition, he creates pieces with larger areas of plain sheet metal and patination in blocks so the viewer can respond emotionally to the base metal.

The Strathearn Gallery | 32 West High Street | Crieff | Perthshire | PH7 4DL