Dolly the Sheep (stuffed) at the Museum of Scotland.

My output is eclectic and at first glance might not appear to hang together very neatly—but there are common themes. Much of my practice stems from my early training as a biologist and an abiding interest in science and nature; I’m particularly interested in the places where the natural world and human culture collide and cross over.

I’ve always enjoyed optical devices—peering down a microscope at salt crystals, looking at the moon through binoculars or shaking an old kaleidoscope to see mirrored patterns in coloured glass. I’m curious about the invisible worlds that exist just beyond everyday perception.

As part of my scientific training in the 1980s I was taught to depict these invisible worlds using the conventions of scientific formulae, illustrations, flowcharts and diagrams. My work as a novice scientist often involved systematic sampling, measuring and the orderly description of life forms and cycles.

A lot can be left out when assessing and presenting life in this way: all the messy, unquantifiable subjective stuff. My experience as a monitoring technician in an open-heart surgery unit reinforced my sense of the difference between the mechanics of a life and the experience of being alive. I’d sometimes watch the skillful re-plumbing of a heart and wonder where love resided amongst all the meat and sinew. 

As an artist I’m drawn to science and nature as a source of inspiration for both my subject matter and working methods. I often use lens-based media and the alchemy of alternative photographic and printing processes to create work. I’m interested in the connections between everyday human experience and the big questions that continue to elude scientific explanation.