Ian Hamilton Finlay

Seasons (with Robin Gillanders) (from the portfolio Dear Stieglitz) (1994)

About this artwork

In Ian Hamilton Finlay’s work, nature and culture meet. Made in collaboration with the photographer Robin Gillanders, this work pairs an image of a stream with a short text. The text is typical of Finlay’s style of play-on-word poetry. His description of the stream brings imagined colour to the black and white image. The photograph is from a portfolio called ‘Dear Stieglitz,’ named in homage to Alfred Stieglitz, the photographer and gallery owner who published the art-photography journal ‘Camera Work’ in the early Twentieth century. The portfolio features the work of artists whose photography ‘shows an obvious, personal and also very outspoken attitude towards their surroundings.’

Ian Hamilton Finlay

Ian Hamilton Finlay

Finlay was born in the Bahamas to Scottish parents, who returned to Scotland when he was a child. He attended Glasgow School of Art for a brief period but began his career as a writer of 'concrete poetry'. Finlay's work investigates the power of images and symbols, particularly those associated with militarism, politics, classicism and nature. Creating an analogy between war and the forces of Nature, he highlighted the thin line that exists between creation and destruction, order and disorder, culture and chaos. His art presents a challenging and often complex fusion of poetry, graphic design and sculpture. In 1966 Finlay moved to a farmhouse in the Pentland Hills, south of Edinburgh, where he created a sculpture garden called Little Sparta to display his artworks in a natural setting.