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There’s Christmas just around the corner. Indeed, if one of my neighbors’ house is to be believed, it’s already here—and with it the collages of Mark Hearld at the Scottish Gallery, a wild and vibrant smorgasbord of foxes and chickens, of pheasants and ospreys, and of a monkey or two thrown in for good measure.
It’s a motley menagerie, a misfit bedfellows’ carnival, but also a joyous one, and just the right panacea for the gray days and thin winter undertones of the area.
“great isolation”great isolation,”an extroverted guy who gets his energy from interactions rather than introspection.”an extroverted man who gets his energy from interactions instead of introspection.
He went back to his shared studio in downtown York when the lockdown wore off, where he still works today, listening first thing in the morning to baroque trumpets or something like “lively Monteverdi” to liven up the mood, “a little studio joke,” he grins.
For Hearld, it was still birds and livestock. Born in York, he relocated as a teenager to the outskirts of the city. It was the 1980s,”It was the 1980s, and there were still working farms there,”and there were still working farms there.
I spent my whole teenage years with ponies, chickens and Muscovy ducks on farms. I got involved with that absolutely. And I did a lot of poultry life drawings.”I spent my entire teenage years on farms with ponies, chickens and Muscovy ducks. I got fully involved with that. And I did a lot of drawings of poultry life.”Remembered Farm”Remembered Farm”
“It’s no longer the magical, ramshackle farm with sheds from the 1930s and 1950s, no longer the mysterious place to explore.”
And yet, locking up and walking the new family dog, a feisty whippet he shares with his parents,
– that he shares with his parents, brought him back to that time, taking him out into nature for a few hours a day, just minutes from his parents’ door.
Of his parents’ door.
“It was a total joy. I noticed snipe showing themselves – things I hadn’t noticed since I was a teenager.”
Memory plays a major part in the work of Hearld, and his drawings,
he used to do after life, are now largely from memory. I don’t draw often enough, but I’m looking at it very closely. I draw more from memory, and I think you’re going to end up getting very close.
More of an animal spirit,
In the other hand, if you use too much reference content, it may be too flatly naturalistic, too slavish.
But I would love to find a fairy-tale farm and spend months drawing and reviving it. I look at things long and hard, but if I were to go back to
but it would be good to draw spontaneously again, I think. I should be more rigorous.”
The work of Hearld is a collage, a complicated cutting and pasting of disparate pieces into a whole, a material rearrangement until the correct form occurs.
“It’s about placement and flexibility. It’s a wonderfully improvisational medium, a movable feast. You just have to know when to commit,” he says. The paintings by Hearld are loose and audacious, full of painted splashes, exhibition poster cutouts, silhouettes.
‘Collage is my artistic way of thinking, but I didn’t do it at all in art school,’ he says. Hearld studied illustration at the Glasgow School of Art, where an illustrator was one of his tutors.
Mick Manning was. “There was this anxious thing about studying at art school, then I was home alone doing it for myself, with the space to find my own voice. I created a collage and it was an awakening moment. I thought, “This is my medium.”
The best thing is that it’s a method that is essentially abstract. You do want the piece of paper to look like a piece of paper, but you want it to look like a chicken representation as well, and I find that graphics are a great speech and gesture foil.
“You have to find clarity and concentration, put visual equivalents into the mix and add your own energy. It is truly thrilling.
The independence has now been transferred to the frames of his collages, one of which as we speak is intricately decorated by Hearld.
They get wilder and wilder,”They’re getting wilder and wilder,”
“an abstracted version of a faux tortoise shell frame with painted slip.”
It’s only got a few hours to dry, so he’ll paint it the next morning with e