Composition
By Iain Robertson

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Year
1992
Media
Acrylic and Gouache
Subject Matter
Still Life and Flowers
Reg. Number
P338
Size
62 x 64 cm

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From an application of random colour and shape, Iain's paintings develop into a harmony of symbols referencing contemporary culture. The interrelationship between chance and action is what brings this artist closer to dealing with what he calls multiplicity of information and the influence of visual and audible stimulus on the process. Iain uses music as a distraction from the activity of painting, stimulating the insertion of chance imagery. In this artwork he uses a variety of brush stroke and colour to excite ones sensory perception, provoking a sense of self-awareness within the representational world around us. Iain's degree of independence from the representational world in his work allows for a more direct, unmediated encounter with ones sensibilities.

Music is arguably the most abstract form of artistic expression. It tends to deal with the intangible elements of life - things we are unable to perceive through a sense of touch such as emotional states. Musical compositions are predominantly abstract, as they do not seek to reproduce the sounds one hears in reality. In the same way music uses a language of sound to create compositions; abstract art uses a language of form, colour and line, to create visual compositions. The cohesion between music and abstract art is natural as they both use their chosen stimuli to affect our auditory or visual senses. Iain's paintings stimulate both in a multisensory display of colour and form.


Iain Robertson was born in Cyprus in 1955. He lived in Edinburgh during his childhood, attending school at the Royal High Academy. After leaving school, he joined the Civil Service. Following two years with the Inland Revenue, he left to study art at the Cumbria College of Art & Design in Carlisle (1978-1979) and at the Exeter College of Art and Design in Devon from 1979 to 1982.

In 1983, he was awarded a six month painting residency at Grizedale Sculpture Park in Cumbria. In 1984, he exhibited at the SPACEX gallery in Exeter, Devon and in the spring of 1986 he travelled to America with fellow artist Clare Wardman, where their work was shown in private galleries and public collections in Chicago, New York, Baltimore and Philadelphia.

Iain shared a studio with Clare Wardman in North Devon between 1986 and 1987 and in 1988 (at the age of 33), he was awarded £10,000 by the Pollock-Krasner Foundation - an American foundation - to support the continuation of his abstract impressionist works for the next year. He was the first Scottish inhabitant to be awarded this grant.

In an interview in the Scotsman, he had said "I decided to come back to Edinburgh because I felt the need for city stimulus. There's certainly a lot more happening here in the art world than ever before and I am hoping there will be more opportunities here for my work." His work is in various private collections in Germany, Denmark, Norway, Scotland, England, the USA, Canada, Hong Kong and New Zealand.