Neil MacPherson is a wonderfully inventive painter with a superb use of colour. His paintings involve a beautiful narrative that draws in the viewer, curious to discover more about this surreal, poetic world he creates.
It is always a great pleasure to introduce Neil’s work to people for the first time. Although he is a regular to be found in the gallery, its a rare treat to be able to bring together Neil’s work for a one man show.
Born in 1954 in Elgin, Neil MacPherson studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1974-78. In the early eighties he settled in Caithness, drawn by the remote wilderness, the history and the light. Living and working in Caithness has had a fundamentally positive effect on Neil’s work. Both in providing a rich source of inspiration and the space free of distraction to find his own voice. All around him are reminders of how things used to be, history etched in a landscape and still found in the stories of the older crofters, who’s families have worked the land for generations.
Working in a place where the seasons are acutely felt, Neil is aware how it affects his own working practice, how frenzied his work becomes in the winter, as he tries to accommodate the colder shorter days. Juxtaposed to the summer that feels like a “lung filling with fresh air” with its “long, blue, steady days”, that allow him to paint well into the evening. Clearly something he relishes.
Neil MacPherson is truely original, always looking to surprise not only the viewer but sometimes himself. Happier perhaps to go on his personal journey with a painting confident in his ability to come through, out the other side with valuable lessons and new directions for the road ahead. He is eager to get on.
Drawing on the rich sources found in the far north, he combines his narratives (often autobiographical) with a poetry and an optimism, signaled by a use of colour, that is hard to resist. Exploring the struggles in human relationships, he gives meaning to the simplest of things while challenging us to look within ourselves for the subtle clues that unlock our own imagination.
All that is required often is the time, time stood in front of a MacPherson is rarely wasted. This is a unique voice, one that is growing in confidence, one that makes him in my opinion, one of the most important painters working in Scotland today.
Gordon Brown, Brown’s Gallery.