In 2012 Boyd was made a Fellow of the Ballinglen Arts Foundation, and travelled to Broadhaven Bay in Ireland to begin work on the images which would become Point of the Deliverance. The series documents a special area of conservation and the issues facing it due to the development of the Corrib Gas project, which resulted in the Corrib Gas Controversy. With an antique field camera, Boyd worked intensively for 3 months across the area, using the wet-Plate collodion process to document local people and landscapes, paying special attention to sites of archaeological and historical significance. A labour-intensive process, using wet-plate collodion required Boyd to carry equipment over several miles of moorland, including chemicals, a darktent, and the camera itself often working in harsh conditions. Images from the series were exhibited at the Royal Ulster Academy, and have formed the basis for Mapping the Gàidhealtachd, an ongoing project to document the edges of the Irish Gaeltacht and the Scottish Gàidhealtachd.
Boyd was announced as the Royal Scottish Academy's Artist in Residence at Sabhal Mor Ostaig on the Isle of Skye in Scotland for 2012-13, a role which would see his work explore Scottish Gaelic culture and landscape. Working with acclaimed Japanese photographer Takeshi Shikama, Boyd made work focusing on the Cuillin mountain range and the Quiraing, as well as the clearance villages of Skye. The series also took Boyd to the Outer Hebrides, documenting the landscapes of Lewis and Harris as well as the remote archipelago of St Kilda. The resultant large scale prints were displayed prominently at the Royal Scottish Academy as part of their Resident 13 Exhibition in Winter 2013.
The resultant images created distortions of the Highland Landscape, drawing their influence from artists such as William Daniell. A series of out of focus images made using broken camera lenses were also exhibited, and resulted in a collaborative project and book with poet Claire Trevien.
Taking its name from the Sonnets from Scotland collection of poetry by Edwin Morgan, Sonnets is an ambitious five year project which has seen the photographer create almost 100 works which have taken him to some of Scotland’s most remote locations such as Ailsa Craig, as well as some of its most recognisable such as Glencoe and the Isle of Skye.
Boyd draws on the work of other Northern European artists such as Caspar David Friedrich, Edvard Munch and Anselm Kiefer in his bold exploration of the rückenfigur (back figure), creating works which are contemplations on the landscapes of Scotland, choosing places which have been vital to the construction of our national identity.
Sonnets has been exhibited internationally with notable exhibitions at the European Parliament in Brussels, and made headlines in 2008 when it was displayed as 84 metre high projections on Europe’s largest building, the Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest. When it was shown at the Scottish Parliament in 2010, the exhibition featured an intimate portrait of Edwin Morgan in honour of the poets 90th birthday, work which was later celebrated in a parliamentary motion.
The Land of My Desire
Series of Photogravures, 2013 (commisioned for Highland Print Studio) - Edition of 20
Rising above the North Lewis peat land, Stacashal is surrounded by small lochans, long deer grass, and the many long vacated shielings which lie ruined on its gentle slopes.
With a prominence of 700 feet, the views from the summit across the moors are impressive, with clear views to Muirneag in the North of the island, and Cailleach na Mòinteach (The Old woman of the Moors) to the South, her elegant form clear on the horizon. From the exposed summit I watched the slow approach of black clouds, and fragile rays of light which worked their way inquisitively across the landscape.
Standing beside an ancient chambered burial cairn, I decided to make my images of the moorland, using the points of the compass to help guide my eye over the ever-changing landscape. This series of works intends to create a dialogue with the work of Thomas Joshua Cooper, who three decades ago documented the peripheries of island, I instead choosing to document its heart of gneiss and peat.
I’m a lens based artist who works with photography, predominately old photographic processes, as well as drawing and gravure etching. My work is concerned with identity, language and place, concentrating on conceptions of landscape and settlement, from ancient archaeology to more modern habitation. I'm interested in historical depictions of the Scottish and Irish landscape in contemporary visual culture, and explore ideas and representations of 'spirit of place'. Conservation, land use and renewables are also a theme in my work, as are issues of land ownership and exploitation. These themes have been explored in my series ‘Point of the Deliverance’ which looked at the impact of the Corrib Gas Pipeline in Ireland, and ‘Stacashal’ which looked at the role Peatlands play in carbon capture in Scotland.
My work is collaborative in nature, and has involved archaeologists, writers and poets as well as film makers and musicians. Drawing on these fields I create large scale installation pieces which attempt to re-examine how we experience the landscape.
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