veronica slater

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Inch Kenneth – Artists in Residence
8 to 15 May 2010

The Artists in Residence at Inch Kenneth provided a unique opportunity to engage with a site that holds an extraordinary history. The creative possibilities of the island were endless but for me the house had a fascination in relation to recent work I had done on a residency in Finland which culminated in an exhibition called Meidän Talo (Our House).

My approach to Inch Kenneth was to make collaborative, transient interventions that explored the physical space and fabric of the building. The work included mixing marbleised ‘paint forms’ from old house paint found in the steadings. These were then placed around the house in response to surfaces that had suffered damp or other notable residue. The tidal marks of water damage resonated with the ‘floating worlds’ of these ‘paint forms’ that at the same time engaged with the monumental volcanic striated cliffs that surround Inch Kenneth. The ‘paint forms’ also mapped a seepage that alluded to the physical and metaphorical nature of the house. It is a house with a pervasive atmosphere that holds the presence of past lives in found objects that when re-arranged create unexpected intensity such as occurred in Unity’s room.

Using torn paper we traced shadows of objects in the house that included a figurine of William Wallace. This led to an artwork in the garden that comprised of sheep’s wool tracing the long shadow of a rowan tree. The white of the wool synchronized with the white façade of the house and shaped an iconic image of Inch Kenneth.

All the work was documented throughout the week’s residency using film and photography. The short period of time at Inch Kenneth allowed for only a skimming of the surface in relation to its creative value. However it was an intense experience that probed the house’s poignancy through playful and experimental interventions. Inch Kenneth has enormous possibilities for artists to build a myriad of dialogues that can inspire, excavate, investigate and illuminate the island’s remarkable history.

Veronica Slater
June 2010

Inch Kenneth: Installation

A painted circle of household emulsion, the same colour as the drawing room at Inch Kenneth house, evokes the feeling of the buildings interior whilst ‘housing’ a series of paintings that probe the island’s terrain. The paintings integrate domestic decorative motifs with the patterns of Inch Kenneth’s geological formations.

"Consistent throughout the artist's practice is the idea of home; the emotional weight of its human construction as an intimate living, space and the ambiguity of place within and without. The artist’s work also investigates the human baggage of seeing; the layers of fictions which we create in order to define who and where we are."
Georgina Coburn

The spheres and circles depicted in the nine paintings originate from the windows and mirrors in Inch Kenneth House. Along with the polyphone discs that play on the polyphone music box featured in the film.

Within the paintings, the use of paint resonates with the transient *Paint Fragments that were positioned inside the house during the island residency. These were made in response to the tidal marks of water damage and create ‘floating worlds’ that reverberate with the volcanic striated cliffs that surround Inch Kenneth. The Paint Fragments can be seen on the film Inch Kenneth: Home Movie. Later the Paint Fragments were mapped out on the drawing room floor in the shape of Inch Kenneth Island – see sketchbook.

Veronica Slater

* The Paint Fragments included leftover paint from Inch Kenneth interior (with the kind permission of Colleen McLaughlin Barlow)

Inch Kenneth: Home Movie

The film tours the island's house, wandering through its interior and looking out at the surrounding landscape. The visual narrative absorbs the pervasive atmosphere that holds the presence of past and present lives. In a room, thought to have been *Unity’s bedroom, the camera leads the viewer around 'Wardrobe' a temporary installation that uses found objects to generate an unexpected intensity.

The film opens with Inch Kenneth: Wool Shadow and closes with Inch Kenneth: Map Shadow. These site-specific works took on the impossible task of tracing a tree shadow whilst the sun moves across the sky. The sheep's wool, and the rocks wrapped in map fragments, explore the transient nature of occupying a time and place, reflecting the experience of a brief but poignant residency on the island.

Veronica Slater

View the Inch Kenneth - Refuge and Privilege film

* Unity Valkyrie Mitford (8 August 1914 – 28 May 1948) was one of six Mitford sisters Pamela, Deborah, Nancy, the writer. Diana who married the fascist Oswald Mosley and Jessica who eloped and became a communist. Unity pursued and formed a close friendship with Adolf Hitler. As the possibility of war between Germany and Britain drew closer, Unity began to despair, telling her sister that she would kill herself if there was conflict. It came as little surprise to the family when she shot herself in the temple on the day war was declared in 1939. The suicide attempt was unsuccessful but doctors were unable to remove the bullet in her brain. She was left changed both physically and emotionally by the injury. Unity spent the war years on Inch Kenneth until she died at Oban Hospital of meningitis caused by the cerebral swelling around the bullet.

For more information on the work from Inch Kenneth Residency with 6°WEST visit


Inch Kenneth: Map Shadow (detail)
Artist pictured
(Photograph by Shannon Tofts)

Inch Kenneth: Map Shadow
(Photograph by Shannon Tofts)

The Edinburgh Arts Festival 2012
Review by Mk Palomar

(Click to view/download PDF)

6°WEST Inch Kenneth
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