One Time In A Tale of Herring by Will Mclean & Angus Martin

One Time In A Tale of Herring grows out of cultural memory. This collaboration between the artist Will Maclean and the poet Angus Martin is an homage to the lost tradition of ring net fishing for herring on the west coast of Scotland. The words and images come together in what can only be called iconic memories. Both men worked at sea in the fishing industry. As youths from the highlands and islands, they were brought up within the fishing communities in Skye and Argyll. During the 1970s and 80s they collaborated on a series of research projects, artworks and publications. Now, decades on, they have revisited some of this material, but in a dramatically different form. In a recent period of work, Will made powerful ink wash images from memory, where lasting images of men, boats and baskets, waves and skies were indelibly recorded. The compelling visual recall that we find in these images gives new resonance to the familiar phrase, ‘the mind’s eye’, and a heightened sense of drama is the result of internalised experience. The poetic text seemed most fittingly transcribed in handwriting, almost as if the mediation of the hand and eye together in the text must appear in the gestural hand, as reminders of the body’s importance in ways of knowing, and as central to a lament for a way of life now past. The linkage between text and sight in this work stands for the fusion of the senses when evoking memory.

Angus Martin was born in Campbeltown in 1952 and became a herring fisherman when he left school at the age of 15. His last year as a fisherman was 1977 and since 1979 he has worked as a postman. He has had 21 books published and has edited 'The Kintyre Magazine' since 1998. He is married to Judith Honeyman and has three grown-up daughters.

Will Mclean, born Inverness, 1941. His many degrees and distinctions include: MBE, RSA, Emeritus Professor (Dundee). Awards include: Civic Trust Award; Spirit of Scotland Award; Creative Scotland Award. Publications include: Symbols of Survival, Duncan Macmillan, and Cardinal Points, L. Reuter. His work features in numerous collections, including: British Museum; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art; Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; and Yale Centre for British Art (USA). He is represented by Art First, London.