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‘Our Infinite Land’. Taking Hugh MacDiarmid’s decrial ‘Scotland small? Our multiform, our infinite Scotland small?’ Royal Scottish Academy. June/July 2019

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The Patient North 40 x 40 cms mixed media on wood panel.

My Heart Always Goes Back to the North, Hugh MacDiarmid, and the last lines of the poem:


But my heart always goes back to the North,

With its mingling of fire and ice, of black lava, green fell, blue firth,

‘When all that ever hotter sprites expressed

Comes bettered by the patience of the North.”


(The last two lines are quoted from Samuel Daniel’s poem, Musophilus 1599).


The objects in the foreground reference the polyhedron in Durer’s engraving Melancholia and The Terrible Crystal poem of MacDiarmid, and originally, the biblical ‘terrible crystal’ – Ezekiel 1:22.

Basilius Valentinus – continuation





HIVE mixed media on wood panel 100 x 140 cm

(photo Chris Park)

Babel in ruins.

‘Almost all linguistic mythologies, from Brahmin wisdom to Celtic and North African lore, concurred in believing that original speech had shivered into seventy-two shards, or into a number that was a simple multiple of seventy-two. Which were the primal fragments? Surely if these could be identified, diligent search would discover in them lexical and syntactic traces of the lost language of Paradise, remnants equitably scattered by an incensed God and whose reconstruction, like that of a broken mosaic, would lead men back to the universal grammar of Adam. If they did exist, these clues would be deep-hidden. They ought to be ferreted out, as Kabbalists and adepts of Hermes Trismegistus sought to do, by words and syllables, by inverting words and applying to ancient names, particularly to the diverse nominations of the Creator, a calculus as intricate as that of chiromancers and astrologers. The stakes were very high. If man could break down the prison walls of scattered and polluted speech (the rubble of the smashed tower), he would again have access to the inner penetralia of reality. He would know the truth as he spoke it.’

George Steiner After Babel Oxford University Press 1975




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Of Natural and Mystical Things


Cernunnos bronze: Ian Howard


Memento Mori (lithograph with painting and collage) and Drago Morto (lithograph, screenprint & etching with painting)


Golgotha  Mixed media on wood panel


Royal Scottish Academy 2012 (photography Chris Park)



Date painted: c.1987
Acrylic collage on paper, 183 x 183 cm
Collection: Dundee Art Galleries and Museums Collection (Dundee City Council)