40 x 40 cm | 15 x 15 in
Original painting in acrylic on canvas.
"From a body of research expanded from the experience of a short time spent on Shetland in winter. My observations are that of an outsider, conveyed through a sense of awe and wonder towards the northenmost point of the British Isles and its merging of Celtic and Nordic heritage. Romantic notions of journey and adventure through the wild and unforgiving North Sea, in search of re-discovery and a re-imagining of folklore, customs, rituals, and life of remote communities and their landscape. This painting seeks to adapt on the very rich folklore and tradition that is found in Shetland, a testament to their deep connection with land and sea, and various aspects of Norse culture. The Njugl, which was believed to be real even at the turn of the last century, would take the form of a 'waterhorse', appearing to wanderers in the landscape and luring them to mount it. It would then gallop towards the nearest source of water to drown it's victim, usually over the many cliffsides that are characterstic to the place. The image itself is the culmination of observation, experiencing the landscape, and fantasy."
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Humour and horror equalise each other in the unexpected illustrative landscapes of Aiden Milligan. Far from observing space in a traditional sense, Milligan rescues the depiction of rural life from banality by portraying allegory and narrative. Perhaps even more surprising is his capacity for creating suspense in the imagery. Indeed, many of the images have a feeling of absence which gives a macabre power to the pieces. Milligan’s confident use of negative space heightens the dramatic effect of each piece, yet the illustrative style refuses to let the creeping sense of threat control the narrative. Instead, the images play out multiple possibilities without succumbing to a fixed reading.