This piece is part of a series titled "Migration". It consists of a set of three drawings hand-painted in black ink and white gouache on coloured paper. These illustrations are part of a series of original drawings for an artists’ book entitled ‘Migration.’ They were purchased in 2007 from Wilson’s degree show exhibition at Glasgow School of Art, where he studied Visual Communication. The first drawing in the set consists of a herd of caribou drawn in black ink walking towards the right-hand edge of the paper. The shape of the animal is repeated to create a pattern which makes the illustration resemble a design. On initial viewing caribou looks resemble a flock of birds. The second drawing depicts three black and white geese on a grey background flying towards the left-hand edge. These birds are more intricately drawn than the caribou. The last drawing has the brightest background which makes the black goats stand out. Six goats are walking in a line towards the top, evenly spread out, though one goat at the rear has moved away from the herd. As with the geese, Wilson has highlighted certain areas with white gouache.
Gouache is a variety of watercolour distinguished by its opacity compared to the more common transparent form, consisting of a pigment and a binding agent, usually gum arabic. This results in greater reflective qualities which serves to highlight certain features in the moving animals. It is a medium often used by commercial artists for design works such as posters, another typical technique of which is the use of large areas of bright pure colour. The use of coloured paper gives the series a commercial look with the bright colours and patterns created by the moving animals and humans attracting the viewer, almost as though they are posters for migration. However, the precise and intricately drawn animals invite viewer to examine them more closely.
In this series the title ‘Migration’ represents movement, which Wilson creates through the use of perspective. The effect differs in each drawing but the animals are always walking together in the same direction, creating patterns drawing the viewer’s eye across the canvas. This also emphasises the similarities between each species: although the reasons for migration may differ long-distance movement in search of new habitat occurs within many different species. By repeating the same techniques and patterns throughout each drawing, Wilson shows how this is natural process is found in all major animal groups.
Kenneth Wilson studied Visual Communication at Glasgow School of Art and graduated in 2007.