Robert McNeil, M.B.E.
First 'discovered' by iota for the 'What's in a mile?' exhibition 2012...
Drawings, Paintings & Written Statements by the artist & International Forensic Colleagues.
exhibition & publication Produced by iota for The Mitchell Library, Glasgow.
24 January – 15 February 2014.
From the innaugural exhibition at the Mitchell Library, Glasgow in 2014, this work travelled to Worcester, Fromelles and Portobello in 2015 and the Scottish Parliament 2016, with many other cities now engaging with the work, the power of art is spreading.
WITNESS has generated much interest locally & globally. This lead to the making of the award-winning film 'Painting Life after Death. The work of Robert McNeil' by Michael Hough and Emma Sanders. Filmed in Glasgow & premiered at Film City, Glasgow.
iota exists to take process and product, artists and art to the public. With the discovery of this significant series of images which reflect the best and worst of Humanity relating to war, iota took this exhibition to a wider audience than usual, at the Mitchell Library.
This exhibition comprises twelve powerful and sensitive works of art with associated text, produced by the artist in response to his forensic investigation of many atrocities of many wars.
In a more poignant role than the traditional 'War artist' who observes and reports the actions of others, McNeil has worked in Forensic teams which carried out the exhumation and identification of victims of various wars, ranging from the First World War to Bosnia. Never intended to be seen in public, the series was completed over a period of three years.
This work demonstrates the power of Art as mediator: a means to express, process and communicate the most extreme of experiences. It demonstrates the power of human determination, both by the artist and subject. It presents hope and terror as well as inspiration. The art portrays powerful observation, 'man to man', offering a genuine opportunity for discussion and debate on difficult issues. McNeil explores various means and media by which to express his personal experience, while honing his artistic skills. Each image is laden with symbolism in a contemporary iconography, and, as his work in war-torn regions demanded, he also delivers that forensic detail in his art. Humble and sensitive insight is offered.
This exhibition is about more than art. It is an exposé of the universal suffering exacted by humanity on humanity, in every war; the depth of human endurance and a revelation of the generosity of human endeavour for the restoration of dignity.
The exhibition catalogue and Limited Edition Fine Art prints are available from iota. original works will be auctioned for charity following an exhibition at the Scottish Parliament in 2016.
iota first discovered McNeil through the iota 'What's in A Mile?' project in 2012. He has also exhibited in group shows at iota: Gee-i-ota & FABruary 2014, and at the Leiper Gallery.