This piece is part of a series by Colin Black connected to Iona, celebrating the scenic beauty of the island, its history and its Christian heritage. Intially, the piece resembles a straightfoward and stark Iona landscape. However, it also incorporates references to various forms of art that has flourished on Iona, from Celtic lettering through medieval architecture to twentieth-century landscape painting. For example, an elaborate collage in the lower half references the illuminated manuscripts produced by the island’s monastery in the Middle Ages. As in the rest of the series, this implies a link to St Columba as the “foundation” of monastic life on Iona.
This piece is one of the larger pieces in this series. It is dominated by vivid blue sky, with a few suggestions of clouds: underneath, the terrain has been formed from collage strips of red-brown and orange hills bordering a pale blue sea.
The foreground is composed strips of brown, green and turquoise, overlaid by other pieces of collage. The left and centre is dominated by a section of building and a piece torn from a medieval manuscript: some of the text is visible, though the meaning is obscured. The most striking feature is the three-dimensional section of archway in the lower left, which overlaps the manuscript building and the bottom edge of the canvas. Although incomplete, it is possible that it refers to the foundation stone of the title. It is accompanied by a section of rope, and both have the feel of objects found washed up on the beach. The nature of their addition adds an additional puzzle for the viewer to consider.
Colin Black studied Graphic Design at Chelsea School of Art and the Royal College of Art in London. He worked in London for fourteen years at major design practices before starting his teaching career. He is currently a member of staff at Leith School of Art and exhibits regularly at the Open Eye Gallery in Edinburgh.