Esk McGuinnes


A graduate of Edinburgh College of Art in 2009, I am an artist currently based in South Lanarkshire. Inspired by the country’s oldest sculptural practice, I apply contemporary techniques upon a historic process in order to create my work. At a time when the country is deeply concerned with Scotland’s economic and political future, I have taken to exploring its cultural past. Pictish carvings and Celtic knotwork form the base of Scotland’s artistic history and yet in current culture these art forms have long since fallen from grace. Anyone who has visited sites of Pictish carvings in Britain or those who have studied the ‘Book of Kells’ will know the elegance and wonder they emanate. It seems unfair then for these particular art forms to often be resigned to ‘tourist tack’ and questionable tattoos. And so with a large measure of indignation and a fair measure of vanity, I am delving into a fresh approach to these processes.

Whenever I visit stone carving sites in Scotland I am struck not only by the designs but by the stones themselves. Full of their own physical quality and narrative they resonate an effortless sense of belonging. While mainly due to the scale of time in which they have resided in their environment, they still impress as the original site specific artwork. In an effort to appropriate some of that quality, I always consider this element at the beginning of my work. Around the country I look for stones that speak of their environment whether that be natural, domestic or a mix of both. I choose stones that have their own character and stature even before I make a single mark upon them.

The technical process I use to create my work is far removed from its traditional Inspirations. I wanted to create works with an intricacy that is simply unachievable using standard ‘stonecarving’ techniques. So instead of working from stone, I aspire to stone and all its subtle layered qualities. While not for purists, for me the very convoluted process that I use is more than worthwhile for the finished results.

For more information please see the artists own website Esk

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