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Norman Shaw, artist, drawing, highland landscape, drawing, sunart, ossian, sonorous, deleuze, rhizomes, graham harman, weird realism, speculative realism
Sonorous Map: Sunart

Ink on paper, 2002

20 x 30cm

Exhibited in:


Rediscovery of Highland Art exhibition at The City Art Centre, Edinburgh, 2010/11.


Eskimo exhibition, curated by Polarcap at the Eskmills Gallery, Musselburgh, 2008.


Psychic Geographies exhibition, Centrespace, Visual Research Centre, Dundee Contemporary Arts, 2002

Published in:


Rethinking Highland Art: The Visual Significance of Gaelic Culture, edited by Murdo Macdonald, Lesley Lindsay, Lorna J. Waite and Meg Bateman (Royal Scottish Academy, 2013)

Art as an Expression of Northernness: The Highlands of Scotland by Murdo Macdonald (Visual Culture in Britain, Volume 11, 2010, Issue 3)

Performance Research Journal, 'Congregation' issue, Volume 13, No.3, September 2008.


'Linear Sorcery' by Norman Shaw, in 'Fieldnotes and Sketchbooks - Challenging the Boundaries between Descriptions and Processes of Describing' edited by Wendy Gunn (Peter Lang, 2009)

Sonorous, non-heirarchical and splayed-out landscapes from the north west Highlands of Scotland - in this instance, the area around Loch Sunart on the Ardnamurchan peninsula.

Developed from drawings made during camping trips to these areas.

Inspired by physicist David Bohm's concept of wholeness and the idea of reality as an unbroken totality; the philosophical writings of Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari (rhizomatic landscape, 'forces, densities, intensities'); and Graham Harman's 'weird realism' ('the strange contours of objects'), where objects do not make themselves directly present to us, but rather appear as amassings of numerous palpaple surfaces.

Other influences are the 'carpet pages' of Celtic illuminated manuscripts such as the Book of Kells and the Lindisfarne Gospels, and Oriental Taoist landscape painting.

However, the initial impetus for these sonorous drawings came from readings of the Poems of Ossian, as 'translated' by James Macpherson (1776). I imagine that the songs of the ancient blind Gaelic bard Ossian continue to reverberate throughout these landscapes, recreating the contorted, fluid, twisted contours of the land as mythopoeic waveforms. See my PhD thesis Highland Landscape Aesthetics - Ossianic Sonority and the Sonics of the Unpresentable (University of Dundee, 2003).

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