Exhibition pays tribute to Calum Colvin
Published on Fri 10 Jan 2020
A new exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy celebrates the work of Calum Colvin, Professor of Fine Art Photography at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design and one of Scotland’s foremost contemporary artists.
Professor Colvin is internationally renowned for challenging the boundaries of photographic media over the past four decades. The RSA exhibition, entitled Constructed Worlds, opens on Saturday 11 January and follows on from last year’s publication of a book by art historian Tom Normand that charts how Professor Colvin’s practice has developed over the years.
Professor Colvin’s photographs are complex constructions composed of three-dimensional stage-sets, populated by everyday household objects and overpainted with subjects that relate to fine art, popular culture, global history, identity and ecology. Constructed Worlds offers visitors the chance to view some of Professor Colvin’s finest works, brought together for the first time for the exhibition.
Professor Colvin discovered photography in the 1980s under the mentorship of documentary photographer Joseph McKenzie while studying sculpture at Duncan of Jordanstone. He quickly graduated from early emotive black and white images of desolate subjects to layered installations, taken with a large field-camera, carefully composed over up to three months.
“The exhibition follows the spirit of the book in that it juxtaposes work from different phases in my career, identifying common concerns and themes,” said Professor Colvin.
“When you produce work for this amount of time it evolves in unexpected ways, so it is exciting to be able to look back at your career and a large section of the body of work you have created within one publication or exhibition.”
Professor Colvin has exhibited extensively in Europe and the United States and has worked on commissions for several major galleries, with the Scottish Parliament being among the venues to feature his work.
Tom Normand’s book, The Constructed Worlds of Calum Colvin: Symbol, Allegory, Myth, is a thematic exploration of Colvin’s photography, recognising its complexity, intrigue, erudition and humour. It was described as “brilliant” by Scottish sculptor and installation artist David Mach, who said his fellow Duncan of Jordanstone graduate was a rare example of “an artist that gives you history, myth, comedy, tragedy, pathos and drama all at the same time. Seeing one of his works is like going to the theatre”.
Calum Colvin: Constructed Worlds runs at the Royal Scottish Academy, Princes Street, Edinburgh, from 11 January until 2 February. More information is available from https://bit.ly/2RG3hHe.