Event: Mark Scadding 'Day Dreamer', The Loft Gallery, Orkney
Review by Thomas Stewart Muir, 50, Orkney Islands: five stars
Mark Scadding is exceptionally talented at drawing, as these prints demonstrate beautifully. He also has a very wicked sense of humour. Bring these two factors together and you have a unique exhibition that is sensitive, funny, moving and maybe just a bit mind-blowing.
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Mark took a trip with fellow artists to the uninhabited island of Swona to paint and draw the feral cattle that live there since the last family left the island. The feeling of closeness with nature has had a profound effect on Mark, as we see in some of the works on show. Wearing his trademark lugged hat he appears in many of the prints; sometimes as the only subject. In 'The Story Teller' Mark is reading a book while curious puffins gather around to hear the story. What book is he reading? 'Icelandic Cookery'! 'Wannabe Rock God' shows an audience, all made up entirely of Mark, gasp at their heroes onstage. It is a real gem of a picture, full of humour and guaranteed to bring a grin to your face. And who is the figure of adoration? 'Rock God' shows three Marks, with Gibson SG guitars. Mark wants to be Angus Young. 'Shaman', sees Mark and rooks, his spirit guide, sitting by the fire surrounded by other shady versions of himself, along with animals, insects, and a ram-headed man. This image is particularly powerful, yet not pretentious or pompous. All human life is here and a good deal of the animal kingdom as well!