à làimh Shomhairle Exhibition

DEC 2022

à làimh Shomhairle Exhibition (‘from Sorley’s Hand’)

An exhibition showcasing Somhairle’s contemporary landscape art and a retrospective of his 20-year career in creating imagery for the Scottish music scene.

Somhairle MacDonald is a multimedia artist from the Scottish Highlands, exiled to Glasgow since 1998. His work spans many different spheres but often centres around a sense of place and belonging. Somhairle (pronounced Sorley in English) is a founding member of ethno-funk pioneers Croft Nº 5 and still produces music under his own name. He has been part of the wallpaper of the Scottish music scene for over 20 years and has designed 100+ album covers, taken countless photographs and worked on a variety of music videos, documentaries and audio visual commissions. He has collaborated with the likes of Ross Ainsley, Rachael Newton, Dàimh, Shooglenifty, Beecake, Breabach, Hamish Napier, Jarlath Henderson, Kinnaris Quintet, the Henderson clan (Lochaber), Skipinish and many, many others.

‘Folk band in the woods’ is definitely not MacDonald’s schtick; he prefers to take musicians out of their comfort zone during photoshoots, working with them to develop concepts that encapsulate their vision and reflect their sound. The results are often innovative and striking, and this exhibition includes a choice selection of album artwork, photography and videography. MacDonald will also perform alongside Iain Fraser at the Tolbooth on 8th December, providing visuals for the live performance of his album Gneiss, in collaboration with Fèis Rois.

In addition to his design work, MacDonald is also an accomplished and prolific landscape artist. Over the years, landscape photography has formed the fieldwork for his deeper, creative output; it forces him outside to seek the heavy weather, a comforting darkness. Exploring remote locations that are often very far from the beaten path.

“Through my photography, I hope to convey more than just pretty vistas and the intricate patterns of nature. There is always something more meaningful to unearth. The search for these illusive properties is what drives me outside, to make friends with the trees and the boulders, to drown out the monotonous drone of modern society with the white noise of a waterfall in spate.”

As an indigenous Highlander, Somhairle is engrained in the land; it is in him as he is in it, an unbreakable bond forged over generations and the unquestionable nature of everything. The landscape speaks and he listens.

“The rule of land, sea and weather is indisputably our everything. Perhaps my paintings can give you a glimpse into this world of unadulterated connection free of Homosapien mythos. Harmony and dissonance; darkness and light; lives carved into the landscape. Humans atop the earth; getting by, loving, mourning, digging holes and piling up rocks. Growth and erosion the possibility of everything and nothing happening at the same time.

In creating my paintings I seek a flow state, to become a conduit for the ceaseless forces of nature. When I’m in it, I am connected to something way beyond human; I feel native, wild and inextricably connected to the wider universe. I express the obvious charisma of a birch tree, the plight of the 3 billion year old boulder, the hardship and exaltation of my ancestors. ”

All the artwork displayed has been created for this exhibition and will be available to purchase from www.somhairle.co.uk.

Summary of Work on Show.

A special selection of Album Artwork and Photography
Over 3 hours of Music Videos and Documentaries
Landscape Photographs (Film & Digital)
Landscape Paintings

*Please note the Tolbooth will be closed on Monday 26th & Tuesday 27th December


Jail Wynd, Stirling, FK8 1DE

+44 (0)1786 27 4000


Tolbooth Tues-Sat 10am-5pm

à làimh Shomhairle Exhibition - Gallery

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