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Calum COLVIN Born 1961 -

Biography

Calum Colvin is one of Scotland's most exciting contemporary artists, and in these works he explores the mysterious world of the third-century Celtic poet, Ossian. This theme was ripe with potential for the artist, whose work has long been concerned with issues of Scottish identity.

He has used kitsch and tartanry to examine our ambiguous relationship with our own Scottish cultural heritage, in which we have lost a grip on what is real, what is reconstructed, and what is nothing but romantic nonsense. The face of the poet is based on an etching by Alexander Runciman (1736-85). Colvin's treatment acknowledges the artifice of the image. As an etching it contains the notion of something that is both present and absent - the 'positive' of the inked line and the 'negative' of the un-inked areas of paper. This becomes a metaphor for the fusion of the real and the fabricated in writer James Macpherson's 'translations' of Ossian, which are themselves emblematic of the mingling of the mythical and the factual in Scottish history.

Colvin said of these works: "Computer manipulation of photographic imagery has been a key feature of my work over the last nine years. I have been exploring the potential of the computer to facilitate believable, yet fantastical scenarios. This has extended the core technique of my constructed photographic images. More recently, I have used the computer in order to develop the creative narrative of my imagery, cross-referencing details and symbolic elements throughout the series of works."

Calum Colvin was born in Glasgow 1961. He attended Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee from 1979:1983 with a postgraduate Diploma in Sculpture 1983:1985, followed by a Royal College of Art, London MA in Photography. His work has been shown in many major museums and art galleries and is held in public collections including the National Galleries of Scotland. Tom Leonard is one of the most influential voices to come out of Scotland in the last 30 years. His books include Intimate Voices and Reports from the Present.

Photopolymer prints use a light sensitive photographic film which is adhered to a metal plate (copper, steel or zinc). A transparency with a photographic (or drawn image) is then exposed in a light box to the metal plate which is etched/developed with soda ash to create the intaglio surface. This is then covered in ink and rolled through an etching press with paper so that the image lifts off onto the paper. "Fragments" was published by Edinburgh Printmakers in a limited edition of 12 numbered folios, signed by artist Calum Colvin and writer Tom Leonard. The photo-polymer plates were made and printed by Alfons Bytautas, assisted by Denise Walker at Edinburgh Printmakers Workshop in 2003.

Purchased with assistance from the National Fund for Acquisitions administered with Government funds by the National Museum of Scotland.