Member Showcase September 2019 - Thomas Hawson

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Sep 8th 2019

Every Month we will showcase three Visual Arts Scotland members, spotlighting their work & practice.

These showcased members will be chosen by a monthly guest curator. The invited curator will select makers & artists that interest them from our amazing membership. This will be based on a theme of their choice. 


September 2019

Curator: Hugo Burge

Theme: Sculpture

Hugo Burge's life long love of the Arts and Crafts Movement and Sculpture has lead him to dedicate much of his energy to nurturing artists and makers.

Having restored Marchmont House in the Borders, Hugo activley supports sustainable arts and crafts and Scotland's creative community. Most recently Visual Arts Scotland and Marchmont House worked together with Craft Scotland and The Scottish Gallery to create the wonderful Conversations in Wood event. 

The forthcoming Sculpture event at Marchmont House will bring together a world class group of speakers, an interesting mix of artists, curators, auctioneers, dealers, to explore Sculpture.

"We have an upcoming event in Sculpture on the 21st September, so perhaps I am now descending into a blinkered world of looking, seeking and trying to understand sculpture, but it is an excuse for selecting 3 sculptors. 

Selecting sculpture is a very personal and visceral instinct, perhaps unfair without having met the artist and heard about their story first hand, but that is the terms upon which I select 2 out of 3 of these artists work. I naturally feel myself drawn to things that I feel have a sense of permanence, typically relate to nature and are pleasing to my eye. 
The outlier here is Thomas Hawson, who I have come to know and hear talk about his remarkable boat ‘Lost at Sea’ which embodies so much energy and beauty.  Having heard him read poetry, whilst standing with the boat in a wild flower meadow, I really couldn’t not select his work, which carries such thoughtful energy and is usually memorable in so many ways."

Thomas Hawson

The spaces I have been visualising to make work in within the muse walk and woods are growing in my imagination, painting the tree scape with torch light has felt like creating the stage set. Reflecting on the renewing cycles of life has brought me to begin seeing the motion, cycles, dynamic nature of nature and spaces and the human relation with that, to see the dance of life if you will imagine with me. I have also begun participating and assisting to inspire a 'deer dance' with a local contemporary dance group, with the choreographer claire pencak, which is giving me an insight into the dynamic world of movement, this insight will inform the works. I want to dance, move, find rhythms in the spaces next, I will be opening up the shutter of the camera again in low light, painting the scene and recording my movements within the space with a small light bulb, creating line drawings in the landscape with light. These I will use to inform the development of works to make in the spaces with material from the wood and landscape….. deep breaths… so excited….


Tell us a little bit about your artistic background/education

Local education authority recognised as Retard, University as dyslexic

followed by practice-based philosophical Doctorate in Icelandic crafts


Could you describe your practice?

Wide enquiry into making things happen in the land and sea scape,

reflecting on our relationship with nature


What are your art influences? Which contemporary artists/makers do you admire and why?

Greenlandic and northern hemisphere shamanic art and practice, Beuys,

Brancussi, Kandinsky, George Wyllie, Duncan Macmillan, Ian Stephens,

Anselm Kiefer, David Nash, Richard Harris, Herman Prigann.

Herman Prigann I spent time with while assisting Richard Harris for a 3

month symposiam building land art in luxamburg. This was possibly the

most influential moment of my art interest, we had been having a

protracted conversation for weeks about the role of the artist, and

Herman having been very patient with me sat me down and said an

artist makes art works for themselves. After that is was simple!


What makes a good day in the studio for you?

Not having to do any paperwork.


In the studio – music, audiobook, podcast, Radio 4 or silence?

I play and listen to many things, often enjoying woman’s hour, lately

shakeltons ‘South’ audio book, lots of podcasts specially science and

economics, but also really appreciate and need silence to get right into



What is coming up next for you and where can we see more of you work?

I have a fabulous land art commission with a sort of patron near where I

live, which I have been working on for the past year and will hopefully

continue for another few years. During this first year I having been

reviewing, reflecting, dreaming up and making physical manipulations in

the landscape as part of my proposal. The results of this work this past

year and I hope at least two years to come, I will present as a book for

each year and stage of the project, proposal, implementation and

renewal. These books, I hope, will be a visual representation of the

project and its stages, be works in themselves and share the whole thing

with a wider audience. Oh and I want to show a haystack at this years

VAS show at the RSA (if and when I get round to filling in the proposal