A decent crowd turned up on Thursday night at the Mareel auditorium for a thoroughly entertaining talk by artist David Mach, who currently has an exhibition of collages at the Bonhoga Gallery.
Not for the faint-hearted, the “feisty Fifer” charmed the audience with an unscripted, long talk backed up with screened images.
He covered his career, often in an endearing but confrontational manner, in installation sculpturing and collages (sometimes as big as 12 feet by 10 feet), approached with much passion.
Mach’s career has seen him gradually transform from an angry young man to an establishment figure – he is currently installed as a Professor of Sculpture at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.
This did not hinder him throwing in a few expletives now and again, no doubt leaving some of those present slightly flustered, illustrating he is still at odds to some degree with the modern art establishment and its often inherent snobbery, seriousness, preciousness and the “white wall explanation”.
After growing up in a very industrial environment at Methil in Fife he attended Duncan of Jordanstone Art College in Dundee.
Early in his career, when making an installation involving leaves and wire in a park, he was asked what it was by a passing punter.
Always a sensitive point, it would seem with the artist, his explanation brought on the reply: “Oh I thought you were making a bridge for the squirrels.”
The whole talk was interspersed with these kinds of anecdotes. He could certainly talk and you got the impression he could have gone on much longer.
He seems to apply incredible energy to his work, describing himself as a “protestant work-ethic pin-up boy”.
Shetland Arts has certainly done well to attract such a well-renowned artist and his lyrical waxings – these talks attract genuine interest.
• For full review see next Friday’s Shetland Times.