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"Whalsay", built on the remote island of Whalsay in Shetland, Scotland, this sculpture forms its own sheltered space in a hostile environment. Elm with concrete foundations and steel fixings, length 7 meters, 2001

Keith Barrett

My sculpture is usually built from wood and designed specifically for the site in which it will be placed. It is sourced in landscape, and explores the psychological, emotional and cultural relationship we have with our environment.

It is only complete in the relationship between the work, its environment and the viewer. Remove one element of this relationship from the equation and the art loses its meaning. The environment of the work is as much a part of the artwork as the built elements. The person who sees the work and engages with it completes the whole.

This relationship occurs to a greater or lesser degree in all my most recent work, but a specific and easily illustrated example is in my piece "Whalsay". Here the source of imagery for the structure clearly comes from the surrounding environment, reflecting the movement of wind and waves, the surface perhaps bringing to mind the synchronised motion of fish swimming in a shoal. The layered structure forms a double sided shell, suggesting the form of upturned boats, or an open clam. A person approaching the work would see this shell like form   . .(Read more)

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