The Finlay Room
An Alastair Salvesen Scholarship Exhibition 2008
New paintings and works on paper by 2008 Alastair Salvesen Scholar, Lee O'Connor. With the £10,000 painting & travel scholarship, he cycled from Santiago, Chile to Ushuaia, Argentina, a distance of 2500 miles. This solo exhibition presents new paintings and video works made from his time in South America. The main body of Lee's work has been developed around the cyclist's visual focus. Lee is originally from the Fort William area and graduated with a BA and MFA from Edinburgh College of Art.
He now lives and works in Dundee, teaching at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art.
In April 2008 I set off on a journey cycling down South America, starting from Santiago, Chile. After twelve weeks peddling, camping, and sight seeing, I arrived at Ushuaia, Argentina and could go no further south. The journey took me from the autumnal warmth of Santiago to the short days and harsh climate of winter in Tierra del Fuego. The work made from my journey relates to perceptions of the cyclist, and the various types of road kill I frequently encountered. The work also focuses on the relationship between the both countries though the rendering of portraits of past dignitaries issued on stamps. The juxtaposition of human and animal, air a tone of sacrificial ritual.
I'm often asked why I chose there and why I wanted to cycle. My reasons are both tenuous and tangible; a friend reminded me about the strong links between the Chilean and Scottish fisheries which I had been researching at the time, I longed for a lonesome adventure, I wanted it to be purposeful, I needed to be outside, I like cycling.
Lee O'Connor 2009
About the Alastair Salvesen Art Scholarship
The painting & travel award of up to £10,000 includes a solo exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy. Sponsored by the Alastair Salvesen Trust in association with the RSA, the Alastair Salvesen Art Scholarship is a major initiative intended to encourage young painters who have made the transition from college to a working environment. The prize money funds travel for three to six months and previous winners have travelled to China, Eastern Europe, Alaska and the South Seas!