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Deveron Projects

The Town Is The Venue
Where do our artists come from? Where do our artists come from?

Eva Merz

Country Living

2004

As long as I have the life giving fluid of tea
I can start working as soon as I get up.
Maggie Craig
Eva Merz: Life, Art and Work in the North East of Scotland

The countryside of the North East of Scotland is a place of work, play and living for a great many people. For those maintaining a creative arts practice, many work directly with their surroundings, but they also work to overcome the isolation of country life. Following her project Empty Shop, which investigated rural retail economies, Eva investigated what the relationship between artists and country living is like? If engendering and engaging with the traditions of rural life, North East culture or country living in general is an important aspect of one's work, then how does an artist translate this for a wider audience? And how does the artist strike a balance between being a part of North East culture and remaining in contact with the rest of the world.

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As her rural economy residency in Huntly came to an end, she produced an interview-based book on life, art and work in the North East of Scotland, documenting conversations with: David Blyth (visual artist), Paul Anderson (fiddle player) and Maggie Craig (writer), all of whom live in the vicinity of Huntly. In each of the conversations, Eva strikes a resonant chord between these artists' practices and the places they live, though each story is particularly different. There is a consistent acknowledgement of the strength of character of North East culture, and where it fits into the Scottish cultural landscape. This character is evident in shaping the voices and ambitions of these artists, whether they have grown up in the area, or are incomers. Another thing they all recognise is the steps they take in order to connect their country lives to a wider professional life outside their surroundings. They speak of contact with the cities, the importance of media and (inter)national dialogue. The interviews are a direct insight into four charming, funny and thought-provoking individuals who warmly invite the reader into a deep understanding of their practice - no gates are closed to visitors of Country Living.

     

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