OILWORK 1984-2004


Publication 2005
Touring exhibition 2005-9:
Aberdeen Maritime Museum
Time and Tide Museum Great Yarmouth
Piers Art Centre Orkney Isles
Shetland Museum Shetland Isles

I recorded the lives and workplaces of Scotland’s oil workers visiting construction yards, oil terminals and offshore facilities where I captured the gritty, harsh conditions of the oil industry in my sketches, paintings and sculptures.

“I rested until 10.30 pm, then went outside to walk around and take some infrared shots on the deserted platform levels. It was a dry but windy night and my only companions were the noises of the platform machines as I walked up onto the deserted heli-deck. Looking around from this vantage point I could make out the neon lights of the sister platforms belonging to Occidental, Tartan and Claymore. The lights on the deck illuminated the words Piper A and looking out into the blackness I could see the delicate flickering lights of the safety vessel on the pitch-black sea. I angled my camera down into the deep dark pit which was the sea, the noise of the waves lashing against the well conductors. It was like a strange timeless dream with the acid lights shining onto the metal against the forces of the sea; no one would hear my cries if I fell overboard.”

Diary extract: Oilwork North Sea Diaries publication, Piper Alpha platform 31st July – 3rd August 1987





“ As an art student in Aberdeen, the oil capital of Europe, I was affected by its presence in the lack of cheap accommodation and the presence of leather jackets and overpowering aftershave in bars and nightclubs; guys walking down Union Street with cowboy boots usually two sizes too big for them. It never occurred to me that later in life I would spend over thirty years doing intense work on this industry.”

Diary extract: Oilwork North Sea Diaries publication

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