In April 2019, Brandon Logan was delighted to win the annual University of Edinburgh Astaire Art Prize, worth £3,000, for his work, Floral System.
Brandon’s winning piece is one of a series of abstract paintings that he has produced using a technique of his own devising, involving paint and household string. The technique draws visual comparison to weaving, but here Brandon uses paint to seal together the string. The resultant works vary in scale from a few square centimetres to 1.5 metres and larger.
The themes of Brandon’s work are broad: time, labour and tradition, especially in the context of his place of birth, Orkney, and the islands’ human and physical geography.
“My work offers poetic reference to the islands. Orkney has a complex history, with continuous inhabitation reaching back over 5,000 years or so. Considering that kind of span, the breadth of lives lived within the framework of one very specific place, it’s tempting to read human life as cyclical, on the same terms as that of seasons, or tides,” he says.
Brandon’s work also explores the traditions of handcraftsmanship and the linked notion of devotion to a task, where a labour-intensive approach is required to create the final work.
He says, “The time associated with making them is an inevitable part of the process, but it’s an element that I enjoy and play up to. I’m interested in what it means to have a very personal practice in an age of undeniable hyperconnectivity. To an extent my paintings nod to this visually – I spend a great amount of time with them, hands-on, yet they appear to the viewer as matter-of-fact grids, networks, systems – the kind we are all enveloped into to some extent.”
Reflecting on his experience of the five-year Master of Fine Art degree where students study History of Art and art practice, Brandon says, “It’s been tough at points but ultimately worth it. I chose to come to Edinburgh purely for the programme and its combination of academic and practice-based elements.”
He continues, “Because it’s five years, you are given an extra year to mature in the studio. The art history side gives you a great pool of knowledge that you can call on when you need it.”
After the Degree Show, Brandon is planning to head home to Orkney for the summer. He’s open to opportunity, which might take the form of finding a studio or residency, but right now he’s enjoying his time left here at ECA.
“There’s an honesty to what everyone is doing here at ECA; it’s a supportive environment and everyone is focussed on making the work they want.”