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Ghost of a Midge (Avenging Clearance Angel)
Ink and graphite on paper, 2010
66 x 85cm
Resident 11, Royal Scottish Academy, 2011
Between the Late and the Early, Royal Scottish Academy, 2013
After William Blake's 'Ghost of a Flea'. The inspiration for this drawing came after a midge-infested visit to the cleared villages of Suisnish and Boreraig, when I was artist in residence at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig Gaelic College on the Isle of Skye. This led to the idea that midges represent the vengeful spirits of cleared Highlanders, as there are very few, if any, references to the Highland midge before the nineteenth century.
This drawing also responds to the work of Hans Bellmer, Austin Osman Spare, William Blake and surrealist automatic drawing, as wel as reading the works of Thomas Ligottii, W.Y. Evans-Wentz's 'The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries', The Rev. Robert Kirk's 'The Secret Commonwealth', and Algernon Blackwood, H.P. Lovecraft and Arthur Machen.
The music of Darkthrone, Mayhem, Coil, Current 93 and Nurse With Wound also had an impact on this drawing.