Migration (Penguins/Humans/Bison)
By Kenneth Wilson

none
Year
2007
Media
Drawing
Subject Matter
Animals
Reg. Number
P1249
Size
62 x 105 cm

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 consists of a group of eight penguins walking in a line towards the left hand edge of the bright blue coloured paper they are drawn on. The last illustration in this set consists of six bison on a background of grey paper, also walking towards the left. Four are far into the distance but the two bison in the foreground have certain areas such as their horns highlighted in white gouache.

Gouache is an opaque watercolour, 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 blue, green and grey coloured paper gives the series a commercial look with the bright colours and patterns created by the moving animals people, as if they are posters for migration. However, the precise and intricately drawn figures invite the viewer to examine them more closely. Patterns are created by the animals walking in a line heading in the same direction, which create a sense of movement and a a feeling of unity which draws the viewer’s eye across the set.

This is the only set of illustrations in the series that includes humans. In the centre a large crowd of figures are walking up the green background and disappearing into the distance. They are wearing contemporary clothing, some items of which are highlighted by white gouache. Most of their heads are lowered, fully concentrating on this ‘migration’. Including humans serves to demonstrate how this ubiquitous phenomenon is found in all animal groups. The search for a new habitat may be different between animals and humans but by placing the humans between the penguins and bison Wilson draws attention to the common search for a better quality of life. The way in which each set of animals walk together towards the same destination shows the unity in their movement from one location to another.

Kenneth Wilson studied Visual Communication at Glasgow School of Art and graduated in 2007.