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Cass has been in thrall to the wonder and beauty of the sea for as long as he can remember and since he has looked with an artist’s eye – to enhance, edit and interpret – he has been struck by the conundrum of the horizon.

David Cass THE






30.01.19—23.02.19 The Scottish Gallery • Contemporary Art Since 1842 16 Dundas Street • Edinburgh EH3 6HZ +44 (0) 131 558 1200 • •

Opposite Cat. 1 • Horizon 48% oil on sign 109.5 x 65 cm (detail)



Foreword • David Reay


Exhibition Introduction • The Scottish Gallery


Hubris & Nemesis • Guy Peploe


Recycled Plastic Paintings


Horizon Rising • John Englander


Recycled Metal Paintings


Ten Points • John Englander Selected Painted Sets

102 Slides 112 Stacks 120 Tins 134 Trays 142

Starting Points • David Cass


Career Highlights

Prof. David Reay

University of Edinburgh

Our planet’s systems are being pushed beyond

now fall to zero by the middle of this century.

their limits: the health of its water, air and

In the Paris Climate Agreement the nations

soils under siege. From deforestation and soil

of the world have plotted a route map to get

erosion, to pollution of rivers, oceans and the

there. Travelling that road will be the greatest

air we breathe, our planetary health is waning

undertaking in human history.

badly. Climate change is the biggest threatmultiplier of them all.

At the core of planetary health is sustainability. Sustainable use of Earth’s resources,

On land, vast swathes of natural forest have

knowledge of and respect for its boundaries.

been felled and their soils ploughed up. The

David’s work embodies all of this.

carbon released has joined that from fossil fuel burning in a smothering heat blanket encircling

The rising horizon is a very real threat to

the globe. This hotter atmosphere super-

millions of people, yet in his beautiful and

charges the water cycle, bringing devastating

inspired repurposing and reuse of materials

flash floods in one area just as it saps away

David illuminates an alternative future. A future

moisture and bakes earth into dust in another.

where the products we consume have lives beyond landfill sites. A future where resources

Across the oceans, sea levels are rising.

are part of a circular economy, one that

Expansion of the warming waters combines

recognises their value and the true cost of their

with ever more ice melt from land to endanger


millions around the world. Each notch higher on the global thermometer means a step closer to

The horizon is rising. Just how far is now down

the irreversible loss of ice sheets.

to us.

Climate change threatens the health of all planetary systems, its plants, its animals,

Opposite Cat. 2 • Horizon 42% oil on copper boiler 79 x 70 x 30 cm

and us too. Global carbon emissions must 4

The Scottish Gallery

Since first exhibiting with us in 2011, David Cass

Rising Horizon compounds and intensifies

has successfully linked each solo exhibition

aspects of his various working processes: it is

together so that each takes the baton from

both summary and progression, using the motif

its predecessor and a clear line of connection

of sea painted on alternative surfaces to convey


an environmental message. The result is both homage (to the sea) and awareness-raising.

Rising Horizon follows Pełàda 2017: an exhibition which focused on the plight of Venice and the Venetians, a rapidly shrinking population struggling to cope with rising tourist numbers and a lagoon whose body threatens to include the city’s ground floors. Pełàda described the topic of sea rise from close-up: using the image of crumbling brick and plaster façades as a yard stick to evidence change. Rising Horizon zooms out: no longer is Cass focussing on a specific location, rather, he is presenting broader commentary on the global topic of sea rise. Visually, this series references Cass’s early shows – Unearthed 2011 and Years of Dust and

Dry 2013 – pursuing an exploration of the found object within the realm of painting. In this new series however, Cass has moved away from working upon wooden substrates and instead

Opposite Cat. 3 • Euripus oil on printmakers’ galley tray 34 x 23 cm

has chosen more surprising materials. 6


Gathering • Cass sources surfaces at flea-markets, antique fairs and salvage depots, always documenting the process through analogue 35 mm photography.

Guy Peploe

Hubris & Nemesis

The Scottish Gallery

The ocean is our most vital life support, the

given its number: the percentage of the overall

lung of the Earth. Its recycling and purification

picture occupied by water, so the horizon rises

qualities are the miracles which sustain life.

by progression in a series. In the ‘final’ work

The pollution of the ocean is a tragic paradigm

– a square of wild, open ocean – there is no

for our careless attitude to resources, while the

horizon, only water. The flood is upon us and

pollution of the atmosphere will lead to global

the artist has chosen the rich vehicle of oil

warming, loss of land ice and the drastic rise of

paint worked with fingers and spatula, smeared

sea levels. It is hard not to see how our abuse of

and splattered to describe the tempest. So, the

the ocean will rebound in our inundation. Hubris

rising is not an arid, scientific process: each

and nemesis.

work is complete and replete within its own terms, and beautiful, the paint often a response

Cass has been in thrall to the wonder and

also to the supporting material on which it

beauty of the sea for as long as he can

has been painted or the scale which the artist

remember and since he has looked with an

has chosen to use. There is no uniformity –

artist’s eye – to enhance, edit and interpret –

anathema to nature observed – instead each

he has been struck by the conundrum of the

work is unique, true to the moment of its

horizon. The horizon of the sea provides proof

conception. The recording of the level of the

of the curvature of the Earth, it is the visible

horizon is, as John Englander observes, ‘an ice

beginning of sky, the locus for the appearance

pick to the brain, a reminder’ and the totality

and disappearance of the Sun in our turning

of the exhibition, which is also an ephemeral

world. So where to place it? The instinct of

event, a ‘progression, a yardstick measuring

the painter is to seek out a meaningful ratio:

environmental change’, as Cass himself

perhaps the Golden Section, the levels around


which many of Cass’s horizon-lines rest. Yet, with no loss of respect for the natural phenomena he observes, Cass seeks some

Opposite Cat. 4 • Horizon ~30% oil on sign 30 x 60 cm (detail)

codification, and in this series each depiction is 10


As in his previous exhibitions Cass is not

Cass considers every aspect in the production

constrained to use only conventional materials.

of an exhibition (presentation, catalogue,

In the past he has painted upon table-tops,

signage, installation) making each show

doors, printmaking trays, drawer bases (as

an artwork in its own right, a conceptual

opposite), canvas signage (as overleaf) and

whole allying him closely to the continuing,

enjoyed the history of material, adapted or

contemporary zeitgeist. In this he sees no

‘rescued’ and recycled to become the base for a

conflict, comfortable considering himself as

new work of art, a powerful trope of modernism

a painter, continuing to embrace a traditional

from Dada to Pop. In Rising Horizon, Cass has

medium as servant to contemporary ideas.

used metal surfaces: steel signage, galley

The complementarity of the concept and his

trays and even a copper boiler. In preparing

love of oil and watercolour paint chimes with

to paint he has had to conduct research

the marriage of opposites within his subject:

into his new materials (although copper is a

natural and man-made, sea rise and drought,

well-established painters’ choice from the

metal and wood, rise and fall.

early Renaissance) to make sure his paint will adhere, and the support will not corrode further. Elsewhere he has commissioned his own recycled boards: made from thousands of items of waste packaging (often with metal-foil lids incorporated, providing flecks of darker tone and texture). The lattice of wave motion which Cass has made his leitmotif is applied then scoured and wiped, so the marks seem to emerge to the surface rather than sit upon it.

Opposite Cat. 5 • Venice Lagoon oil on wooden drawer base 30.5 x 34.5 cm

Cat. 6 • Overpainting oil on found photograph 27 x 44 cm

From an ongoing series of overworked photographs, initiated at the time of Cass’ Florence in flood project, Perimetri Perduti. These images are exaggerations – envisaging inundation in the extreme – but at their core lies the truth that if average global temperature rise is not kept below 1.5ºC (above pre-industrial levels) we will witness permanent inundation in locations around the world.

Opposite Archive • Distance 2013 gouache on pasted canvas coach signage 88 x 60 x 10 cm


Recycled Plastic Paintings


Cat. 7 • Horizon 49% oil on re-formed waste plastics: food containers 112.5 x 104.5 cm (detail)

Cat. 7 • Horizon 49%

oil on re-formed waste plastics: food containers

While Cass’s substrates may vary, they’re united in not being new. Sourced from a variety of locations – from flea-markets to recycling depots – each is unconventional and has lived a life already. The choice of materials used often suggest how sea came to be rising. A painted copper water boiler hints at thermal expansion of sea-water. Painted steel motorway signs and advertisements for fuel and engine oil point to fossil fuel consumption. And, as opposite, painted panels made from plastic waste reference sea and land-based plastic pollution as well as excessive production of petroleum products.


112.5 x 104.5 cm

Cat. 8 • Horizon 70%

oil on re-formed waste plastics: bottles & bags


112 x 108 cm

Cat. 9 • Horizon 80% oil on re-formed waste plastics: bottles & bags (as opposite) 112 x 101.5 cm (detail)

John Englander Oceanographer

Horizon We look to the horizon to gain perspective: to see what might be coming towards us and to gauge changing weather conditions. The straight line of the horizon is our most basic point of reference, giving us our bearings and supporting our sense of balance. Our perspective changes as our gaze shifts. Above is the sky, the atmosphere and the universe beyond. In the case of this exhibition, below lies only sea. Over the horizon is the world of things out of sight, both tempting and treacherous. Faraway places and cultures capable of broadening an inner horizon, or a tsunami, a mighty wave that barely shows in open ocean.


Rising The notion of a rising horizon is both evocative

kind of miniature ice-pick to the brain – raising

and timely. Sea levels are rising. This new global

awareness – whilst in their more extreme form

phenomenon needs our attention. While the

cast judgement on how this came to be.

height of the ocean has an ambiguous visual impact on the horizon, it has a dramatic effect

For the last half-century we have all been

on the coastline. Rising seas will submerge

privileged to see the Earth from the viewpoint

land – our most defining physical asset. This

of satellites. Such remarkable imagery has

will alter nearly all beaches but will have even

transformed our perception of this ocean

greater impact as it expands marshlands and

planet. In the coming decades there will be

alters the contours of waterways and rivers

noticeable changes to many areas as rising

that connect to seas. It will take decades for the

seas permanently alter coastal boundaries.

effect to be noticeable on most maps, though

Though far from a straight line, the shoreline

certainly it will.

may be the most important line in the world.

Ever worsening events of flooding are being

We are in an unprecedented new era and need

witnessed worldwide. While many may think of

to see the reality that comes from looking at

the Maldives or Miami in terms of vulnerability,

science without prejudice or preconception. Art

flooding will also eat away at Scotland’s

is a vital tool to disseminate this message and

coastline. The stunning reality is that all coastal

to provoke thought and action about the real

communities are vulnerable, both large cities

world in which we live.

and rural areas – some ten thousand or more. Cass’s paintings creatively pose a rising horizon from dozens of diverse perspectives, upon a variety of supports: they are bold paintings, often deliberately exaggerated. Despite appearing to be playful in form, many act as a

Recycled Metal Paintings


Cat. 10 • Horizon ~39%

oil on J. Rabut curved advertisement

Where horizon levels are unclear or surfaces uneven, titles are approximately (~) expressed.


58.5 x 39 cm

Cat. 11 • Horizon ~52%

oil on pill box


4 x 3 cm

Cat. 12 • Horizon 47%

oil on shop sign


123 x 88 cm

Cat. 13 • Horizon ~43%

oil on euphagin tablets tin


3.5 x 8 cm

Cat. 14 • Horizon 19%

oil on Accu Slem motor oil advertisement


45 x 38 cm

Cat. 15 • Horizon ~87%

oil on miscellaneous tin base


7.5 x 5.5 cm

Cat. 16 • Horizon 58%

oil on lenses box


24.5 x 17 cm

Cat. 17 • Horizon ~10%

oil on drawer base


24.5 x 23.5 cm

Cat. 18 • Horizon ~37%

oil on artist’s box

One of three works created upon the metal panels of a deconstructed antique artist’s box: painted using the hundred-year-old paints it had contained. These tubes of oil last saw daylight in the early 1900s.


25 x 12 cm

Cat. 19 • Horizon ~44%

oil on artist’s box

One of three works created upon the metal panels of a deconstructed antique artist’s box. The paints within are known to have been produced in Paris and sold by Lechertier Barbe & Co. (London) between 1883 & 1900. This brand & series were used in: Sir Henry Thompson’s Carlo Pellegrini, 1874 · George Munn’s Cornish Trawlers at Rest, 1879 · William Blake Richmond’s William Morris, 1880 · E.J. Turner’s Sir Patrick Grant, 1883 · Thomas Sidney Cooper’s Four Sheep in a Landscape, 1879 · George Jacomb-Hood’s My Sister, 1886 · Heywood Hardy’s The Unwanted Chaperone, 1887 · Frederick Sandys’s Winifred, 1896 · Sir William Nicholson’s The Tuileries, 1922.


25.5 x 16.5 cm

Cat. 20 • Horizon 40%

oil & varnishes on Spido engine oil advertisement


80 x 120 cm

Cat. 21 • Horizon 38%

oil on enamelled stand


20 x 20 cm

Cat. 22 • Horizon 25%

oil on shop sign


63 x 96 cm

Cat. 23 • Horizon 59%

oil on miscellaneous box base


40.5 x 30 x 8 cm

Cat. 24 • Horizon ~33%

oil on S. Pellegrino hydrating magnesium tin


6 x 4 cm

Cat. 25 • Horizon 55%

oil on hook-on race-car number


28 x 30 cm

Cat. 26 • Horizon 20%

oil on railway station sign


31.5 x 79 cm

Cat. 27 • Horizon 35%

oil on road sign


96 x 25 cm

Cat. 28 • Horizon 22%

oil on Zandu Drakshasava health tonic advertisement


26 x 36 cm

Cat. 29 • Horizon ~89%

oil on pastilles tin


5 x 6 cm

Cat. 30 • Horizon 54%

oil on café sign


33 x 55 x 5.5 cm

Cat. 31 • Horizon 31%

oil on fire extinguisher plate


27 x 16 cm

Cat. 4 • Horizon ~30%

oil on post office sign


60 x 30 cm

Cat. 32 • Horizon ~46%

oil on miscellaneous tin


24 x 13 cm

Cat. 33 • Horizon ~53%

oil on street sign


40 x 25 cm

Cat. 34 • Horizon ~41%

oil on street sign


30 x 60 cm

Cat. 35 • Horizon ~60%

oil on pastilles tin


10 x 6 cm

Cat. 36 • Horizon 36%

oil on road sign


146 x 45 cm

Cat. 37 • Horizon 29%

oil on danger sign


40 x 90 cm

Cat. 38 • Horizon 18%

oil on fire station sign


50 x 65 cm

Cat. 39 • Horizon 57%

oil on Primagaz advertisement


38 x 97 cm

Cat. 40 • Horizon ~23%

oil on hazard zone sign


28 x 20 cm

Cat. 41 • Horizon 45%

oil on galley tray base


25 x 18 cm


John Englander

Ten Points

Today, there is increased awareness and concern about sea rise. There is also considerable myth and misinformation. A few points and perspectives are useful as an accompaniment to this catalogue. A reading list can be found at

Contrary to popular belief, melting icebergs and sea ice have no effect on sea levels. Like floating ice in a glass, they are approximately 10% above the surface, due to the peculiar fact that ice has lower density than water.

The primary cause of change in global sea levels relates to the amount of ice on land: principally our vast ice sheets and glaciers, 98% of which are on Antarctica and Greenland. These huge ice sheets are several miles high and would raise global sea levels some 65 m if they were all to melt. Fortunately, this would take many centuries.

Over the last century, global sea levels have increased by approximately 20 cm. In recent years, the rate of rise has rapidly increased. Most scientists believe that acceleration in the rate will increase in a non-linear manner: this relates to the way ice sheets and glaciers go through phases of collapse which cannot be precisely predicted.

A secondary factor of global sea rise is that seawater expands as it warms. In the last century thermal expansion of seawater has contributed around 8 cm to ocean height. In addition to global sea level variations, there are local factors that influence change. One such factor is that land in different places moves either up or down: caused by tectonic shifts, the compaction of silts and organic matter, or pumping water or petroleum from the ground. Such local variations warrant evaluation both to better predict future sea levels and to design adaptations. Throughout Earth’s history sea levels have changed more than 100 m vertically as the amount of ice on land has altered. The last low water mark was approximately 22,000 years ago, when sea levels were around 120 m below present. The last high water mark was approximately 120,000 years ago, when sea levels were roughly 7 m above present. These fluctuations were part of a natural repeating process that is commonly called the ice ages, a phenomenon which has been occurring naturally approximately every 100,000 years, for almost 4 million years. 98

Cat. 42–45 • Slides (studio)

Cat. 2 • Horizon 42% (detail)

We have now broken out of the natural ice age cycles of the last few million years and are in a period of abnormal warming. This correlates almost precisely with elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, which acts like a sheet of glass in a greenhouse: transmitting radiant sunlight but blocking the escape of warm air. Today, the oceans are measured to be approximately 1°C warmer than they were a century ago. While the atmosphere is also getting warmer, more than 90% of the excess heat is stored in the oceans. Warmer oceans mean that the ice on land will melt until it reaches a new equilibrium. From geologic history it is quite clear that even 1°C of higher global temperature corresponds with metres of higher sea level. We are in the early stage of a transition that will continue throughout this century and beyond. Higher sea levels will gradually reshape coastlines all over the world. Even a few centimeters of change already influences the short-term flooding brought by storms, heavy rains, and extreme tides. Sea level is the baseline that raises all those temporary events. Recognising this new reality, we need to do two things simultaneously: pursue all means to reduce the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, with carbon dioxide from the combustion of fossil fuels as the primary factor that we can control. If done sufficiently at a global level, this can eventually slow the warming. Having already passed a tipping point, we need to start adapting to a new era with rising sea levels. We have decades to adjust building codes, engineering, communities and infrastructure, but we have no time to waste.

Slides Cat. 42 Øresund • oil on slide glass • 5 x 5 cm Cat. 43 Chausey • oil on slide glass • 5 x 5 cm Cat. 44 Severn • oil on slide glass • 5 x 5 cm Cat. 45 Barra • oil on slide glass • 5 x 5 cm


Cat. 42 • Øresund

oil on slide glass


5 x 5 cm

Cat. 43 • Chausey

oil on slide glass


5 x 5 cm

Cat. 44 • Severn

oil on slide glass


5 x 5 cm

Cat. 45 • Barra

oil on slide glass


5 x 5 cm

Stacks Cat. 46 North Atlantic • oil on stacked objects • 21.5 x 11.5 cm Cat. 47 Antarctic • oil on stacked objects • 19 x 11 cm Cat. 48 Indian • oil on stacked objects • 16 x 13 cm Cat. 49 Pacific • oil on stacked object • 19.5 x 13 cm Cat. 50 South Atlantic • oil on stacked objects • 11 x 13 cm Cat. 51 Arctic • oil on stacked objects • 10 x 4 cm


Cat. 46 • North Atlantic

Cat. 47 • Antarctic

Cat. 48 • Indian

Cat. 49 • Pacific

Cat. 50 • South Atlantic

Cat. 51 • Arctic

Tins Cat. 52 Red • oil on tin • 9 x 6 cm Cat. 53 Bellingshausen • oil on tin • 7.5 x 11 cm Cat. 54 Kara • oil on tin • 3.5 x 7.5 cm Cat. 55 Tyrrhenian • oil on tin • 9 x 14 cm Cat. 56 Alboran • oil on tin • 15 x 11.5 cm Cat. 57 Timor • oil on tin • 3.5 x 5 cm Cat. 58 Caspian • oil on tin • 5.5 x 8 cm Cat. 59 Azov • oil on tin • 3.5 x 5 cm Cat. 60 Halmahera • oil on tin • 6 x 10 cm Cat. 61 Lazarev • oil on tin • 8.5 x 6 cm Cat. 62 Åland • oil on tin • 10 x 8 cm Cat. 63 Laptev • oil on tin • 3.5 x 11.5 cm

Tins for spices, pastilles, tea, mustard powder, gun powder, calcium tablets, puncture repairs, Aspro’s Wonder Medicine, magnesium sulfate, boot wax, buttons, earrings, cigarettes, drill bits, filters, keepsakes, ribbons, plasters, pipe bowl preservatives, valve caps, biscuits, spare keys, phosphate wafers, screws & nails, fountain pen nibs, fishing tackle, menthol-borate-cocaine, thimbles, razor blades, folded notes, Quinine Tablets for General Breakdown & Nervous Strain, paper clips, rusks, cloves, loose tobacco, makeup, furniture polish, anti-depressants, stock cubes, washers, matches, Vaseline, denture cleanser, clasps, boiled sweets, caviar, poison, string, figurines, fossils, watch batteries, hair bands, sharpeners & erasers, pen knives, ticket stubs, negatives, elastic bands, Blutack, rings, dyspepsia tablets, sardines, lenses, sewing needles, stamps, cotton buds, baby teeth, ink pads, morphine, passport photos, staples, seeds, loose change, sugar cubes, fuses, camp fuel, Meccano pieces, cacao, oysters, soaps, pins & tacks, nail scissors, dried herbs, stickers, badges, playing cards, ointments, pegs, peppercorns, chalk, Altoids, lighters, necklaces, snuff, cereal tokens, kirby grips, rosin, record player needles, smelling salts, toothpicks, calling cards, shoelaces, pencil stubs, postcards, gem stones, rawl plugs, shopping lists, love letters, nuts & bolts...


Cat. 52 • Red

Cat. 53 • Bellingshausen

Cat. 54 • Kara

Cat. 55 • Tyrrhenian

Cat. 56 • Alboran

Cat. 57 • Timor

Cat. 58 • Caspian

Cat. 59 • Azov

Cat. 60 • Halmahera

Cat. 61 • Lazarev

Cat. 62 • Åland

Cat. 63 • Laptev

Trays Cat. 64 La Pérouse • oil on printmakers’ galley tray • 34 x 23 cm Cat. 65 Mytilini • oil on printmakers’ galley tray • 34 x 23 cm Cat. 66 Dover • oil on printmakers’ galley tray • 34 x 23 cm Cat. 67 Alor • oil on printmakers’ galley tray • 34 x 23 cm Cat. 68 Otranto • oil on printmakers’ galley tray • 34 x 23 cm Cat. 69 Vitiaz • oil on printmakers’ galley tray • 34 x 23 cm

Opposite • 25 selected painted printmakers’ trays (view full set at


Cat. 64 • La Pérouse

Cat. 65 • Mytilini

Cat. 66 • Dover

Cat. 67 • Alor

Cat. 68 • Otranto

Cat. 69 • Vitiaz

David Cass

Starting Points

For as long as I’ve made art, I’ve either knowingly, or accidentally made artworks that wage a battle of opposing components in both design and concept. Often, it’s a minor conflict: perhaps simply using new paint on an old substrate, combining industrial metal structures with organic imagery, or, using watercolour paints without water to describe an

Opposite Cat. 70 • Cooperation varnished oil on plaque 7.5 x 15.5 cm (front & back)

image of water. As a result of spending extended periods

Overleaf Forest Fire Aftermath Cat. 71 • Looking Out Cat. 72 • Looking In c-type prints 29 x 43.5 cm

working across mainland Europe, this study in juxtaposition has shifted to the forefront of my practice, applied now to the topic of environmental extremes. Initially from a historic standpoint, I explored the legacy of two of last century’s Great Floods: Paris in 1910 and Florence in 1966. Then, from a contemporary perspective: discussing the increasing weather extremes of wet and dry, symptomatic of our changing climate. From Venice, where inundation threatens the very fabric of the city (claiming homes and forcing residents to evacuate), to Almería, where drought is rapidly becoming desertification (which again leads to land abandonment). 142

Cat. 71

One starting point for this project was a forest

for hunting. Their roots absorb the scant

fire. The aftermath of a forest fire to be exact. It

subterranean moisture that should be going

wasn’t even a fire that I witnessed. The burned

to crops, invading terrace systems and ruining

patch of hillside had new brush and scrub poking

age-old watering channels. Though, precipitation

up between blackened rocks by the time my

here is at an all-time low and so most of these

colleague and I arrived. What drew us to this

channels no longer function.

patch of hillside was its colour: a vivid blood-red. The water and retardant poured from the air to

Almería possesses as close to a desert as

halt the blaze contained this artificial pigment.

Europe has – it’s described officially as a semidesert – and the rest of the region is becoming

Throughout the arid Almería landscape, these

increasingly susceptible to the same fate. Explore

patches of nightmarish forest are common. The

the region and you’ll pass hundreds of abandoned

region is bone-dry and pine trees abundant:

homes: from simple dwellings to farmhouses

non-indigenous and mostly planted by man

with acres of land, each now left to the elements. 144

Cat. 72

There’s nothing here to keep families on the land:

Horizon? Drought and inundation are both sides

wells and reservoirs have gone dry and episodes

of the same coin, they come hand in hand with

of drought have become ever more frequent since

climate change.

the middle of last century, rendering the land unworkable, uninhabitable, unsellable.

A warmer world means faster evaporation and irregularities in the ability of our atmosphere

We spoke to locals – elderly residents of rural

to hold and transport moisture. This means dry

villages – and were told of the wet springs of their

areas of the world become even drier, while

childhoods, of snow in winter, of vibrant (pine

wet areas get wetter. When rain does arrive it

free) hillsides. In half a century, life in this region

is increasingly likely to be torrential, in the form

has changed dramatically. Almería currently

of a storm, causing flash flooding and stripping

endures over 80% of the year without rain, or

soil and nutrients from the land. It was lightning

chance of rain (that’s in a non-drought year). But

from one such storm that set this patch of hillside

what has all this to do with the topic of Rising


Cat. 64–69 • Trays (studio)

Cat. 31 • Horizon 31% (studio)

Career Highlights

David Cass




Rising Horizon

As Coastline is to Ocean

Tay Projects

The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh 2019


The Scottish Gallery 2017

Perimetri Perduti (book launch) ii

The Fruitmarket, Edinburgh 2017

Born 1988 • Edinburgh

with Joseph Calleja & Robert Callender / Lateral Lab An Talla Solais, Ullapool 2019

Sea Fever

with The Auction Collective Hoxton Arches, London 2018

El Bosque Encarnado

The British Institute, Florence 2016

with Gonzaga Gómez-Cortázar IconoTV & ArtCop21, Paris 2015


Quest’Arno! Quest’Arno!

Perimetri Perduti i

Gayfield Creative, Edinburgh 2016

Tonight Rain, Tomorrow Mud The Scottish Gallery 2015

Years of Dust & Dry The Scottish Gallery 2013


The Scottish Gallery 2011

Graduation Exhibition

Edinburgh College of Art 2010

Tatha Gallery, Newport–on–Tay 2018

Airs, Reels & Ballads The Scottish Gallery 2017

Foreign Familiar

curated by David Cass The Balmoral, Edinburgh 2017

Connections Tatha Gallery 2017

with Stephen Kavanagh Studio Arts College, Florence 2015

Water Paper Paint

The Listener

Till it’s Gone

with RSA John Kinross scholars Telfer Gallery, Glasgow 2012

Right Place, Time Left

with Charlotte Nieuwenhuys VDK, Brussels 2011

Out of Site: Solar Pavilion

with Joseph Calleja & Karen Forbes Arts Festival, Edinburgh 2011

Art Toronto

with The Scottish Gallery Convention Center, Toronto 2011

Royal Watercolour Society, London 2017

Museum of Modern Art, Istanbul 2016

Rome Media Art Festival MAXXI Museum, Rome 2016

Drawing on Drawing

Edinburgh College of Art 2016

Curious Artefacts Artwall, Athens 2015

Scottish Art Today

Bohun Gallery, Henley–on–Thames 2014

Drawing from the Landscape

Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh 2012

Selected Awards / Other The Royal Scottish Academy’s Benno Schotz award 2018 named work by Cass as the most promising created by a practicing artist in Scotland under 35 Chosen to illustrate Mark Haddon’s upcoming novel The Porpoise (Penguin Vintage / Chatto & Windus) 2019

Additionally, Cass has participated in Royal Academy, Royal Scottish Academy & Visual Arts Scotland annual exhibitions, has been part of the Threadneedle Prize, National Open Art Competition, Sunday Times Watercolour Competition, Jolomo Awards and both the Royal Society of Marine Artists and Royal Watercolour Society programmes. His works are part of collections worldwide, including seven items in the permanent collection of the Royal Scottish Academy (in his native Edinburgh). He has also participated in a range of arts residencies and events: more can be read on the artist’s website and The Scottish Gallery profile.

Winsor & Newton awarded Cass their top prize for watercolour innovation in 2016 Selected to exhibit during ArtCop21 Paris (aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement) in 2015 Subject of a 2015 minidocumentary by ITV Received the 2012 South of Scotland Visual Artist Award First place in the Royal Watercolour Society’s 2012 competition First place in the 2011 Royal Society of Marine Artists competition for painters under 25 Awarded the 2010 Royal Scottish Academy John Kinross scholarship to Florence Awarded the 2009 Alexander Flynn bequest

Opposite Cat. 73 • Horizon 100% oil on pasted canvas coach signage + wooden supports 139 x 129 x 6 cm (detail)

Acknowledgements & Thanks Professor David Reay Chair in Carbon Management University of Edinburgh John Englander Oceanographer & Author Gonzaga Gómez-Cortázar Romero Collaborator: Forest Fire Aftermath David wishes to thank all at The Scottish Gallery, his family, partner, and friends who have helped with the project — your support has been invaluable

Published by The Scottish Gallery to coincide with the exhibition David Cass • Rising Horizon Exhibition can be viewed online Design by David Cass & The Scottish Gallery • Photography by David Cass Printed by Barr Colour Printers using responsibly sourced & recycled stock (including Gmund carbon-neutral papers) All rights reserved No part of this catalogue may be reproduced in any form by print, photocopy or by any other means, without the permission of the copyright holders and of the publishers

ISBN 978 1 910267 96 7

Profile for The Scottish Gallery

David Cass | Rising Horizon | February 2019 | The Scottish Gallery  

A catalogue to accompany David Cass's exhibition, Rising Horizon. In this new body of work David Cass explores the abstract notion of a r...

David Cass | Rising Horizon | February 2019 | The Scottish Gallery  

A catalogue to accompany David Cass's exhibition, Rising Horizon. In this new body of work David Cass explores the abstract notion of a r...