The Snowball
By Michael Waight

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Year
1993
Reg. Number
P746
Size
111 x 157 cm

The texture of this piece is playful - with the way the snowballs are built up recalling the softness of the snow and creating a landscape of rolling, snow-topped hills. The inky layers of blue forming the nightscape behind remind one of water and ice, adding to the wintery feel of the depicted scene. The scene is unoccupied, adding to the coldness of it, indicating somewhere remote or perhaps even polar - a harsh environment.

However, the snowball provides light and softness, drawing the eye to it. The painting is almost top-heavy, with the dark reflective landscape behind. In contrast, the snow and snowball appear so light, as if they are rising out of the painting.

There is something quaint about the inclusion of the snowball in this otherwise forbidding, cold environment. As the scene is so remote and unoccupied, one questions where the snowball came from and who made it. It is perfectly formed, completely round - inviting the viewer to become curious as to what sort of person could have created such a perfect snowball. The snowball adds a mystical element to the work, alluding to some of the magical entities associated with snow and wintertime.

Michael says of his work:“Currently my work tries to convey a sense of poetry from things I have seen. With the constructions and other work I am translating a subject into an object – distilling and pairing down – so what remains is similar to a visual Haiku. Although there maybe conceptual reasons for using certain motifs, the pieces remain very simple and have to work visually – we don’t need to understand all these things, just to stand under them! Printmaking also suits me as again the best prints are edited down to a few colours or none at all."

Born in Dorset, 1960, Michael has lived in Scotland since the mid 80's. He currently works as a collaborative master printmaker at Peacock Visual Arts in Aberdeen and has taught various printmaking classes and bookbinding courses for many years. Michael has also worked with a great number of artists from Scotland and further afield. His own art includes prints, wood constructions and artist books. In 2007, he undertook a short residency in Italy, which has informed much of his imagery since then. Recently, he gave a presentation on his work in the Orkney Islands. Michael has been a visiting lecturer at numerous educational facilities, teaching printmaking and bookbinding. He has exhibited in the U.S.A., Netherlands, South Africa, Italy, and the UK.

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