Lindsay Blair


Researcher profile

Researcher and Lecturer. Degrees: PhD Art History and Theory (Essex); MA Art History and Aesthetics (Essex); BA (Hons) English Literature (Stirling).

My early research focused on American artist Joseph Cornell (1903-1972). I gained insight into his art through close examination of the process by which he collected and collated his materials. Investigation concentrated on dossiers, diaries, correspondence and interviews with his family and associates. What is revealed through the maze of obfuscation from method to classification is instead of a mysterious ‘distillation’, a deliberate and self-conscious sifting and selecting of materials from the earliest stages of inspiration onwards. This method draws a veil across the personality of the artist; when lifted a further set of strategies is revealed – the wanderer, principle, ‘second-life’, alternative biography, refutation of time – behind which the solitary, self-taught artist is forever shifting his ground.

Recent investigation focuses on the relationships that were forged in the Highlands of Scotland by individuals who brought with them traces of languages from other art worlds – from the Abstract Expressionism of the 1950s as represented by American Jon Schueler (1916-1992) to the conceptual performance art in the 1970s as represented by German artist Joseph Beuys (1921 -1986) to the experimental video and installation art of the 1980s as represented by American Daniel Reeves (b 1984). The emergence of radical counter-narratives from an indigenous satirical tradition as well as innovative research and commissioning of socially engaged creative projects, is combining with these international artists to enable the Scots to enter into a renewed dialogue with their histories.

Catalogues and Journals

2013 ‘Skin over Bone’: Jim Hardie, Amy Hardie, Gwen Hardie, Stirling: Stirling University Press.
2012 ‘Aware of Time: Toby Paterson and Douglas Dunn’, Glasgow: NHS.
2012 ‘Scottish Connections: The Art of Marian Leven and Will Maclean’, Hamburg: Galerie Herold.
2011 ‘The Grace of the Birch: Art, Nature, Healing’, Edinburgh: Creative Scotland and NHS.
2011 ‘Two London Exhibitions: Will Maclean: Collected Works 1970-2010, The Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation, Will Maclean: Lead and Line, Art First’, Studio International on-line magazine.
2010 ‘Walkan heich an’ gazean far’, Mapping Arcadia, Dundee: Visual Research Centre.
2009 ‘More Than Us’, Dalziel +Scullion, Inverness: SNH
2008 ‘Integrative Trance: The Aesthetic Fusion of Art and Poetry’, Inverness: Northwords Now.
2008 ‘Salt of the Earth’, Inverness: Salt of the Earth Ltd.
2007 ‘An Talla Solais, The Early Years’, Ullapool: An Talla Solais.
2006 ‘Way of Seeing’, Inverness: Highland Council and Scottish Arts Council.
2003 ‘Clan: 21st Century Clans in Focus’, Inverness: Highland Festival.
1994 ‘Ruhe’, New York: Stephen Rosenberg Gallery.
1983 ‘Joseph Cornell: An Exploration of Sources, a Review’, Art Journal; Vol. 43 Issue 2, p.197.


1991 ‘Joseph Cornell: Worlds in a Box’, BBC Omnibus documentary, (60 mins). Associate Producer.

Short films

2010 ‘Mapping Arcadia’ (15 mins), Co-Producer. Documentary of an artist’s residency and landform installation on Isle Martin, Wester Ross.
2008 ‘Satis Passio’, (13 mins), Co-Director. Experimental film in response to a poem by Les Murray.
2007 ‘Sea of Glass’, (30 mins). Producer. Drama.
2006 ‘Way of Seeing’. (30mins). Production Manager. Documentary with Director Don Coutts (Move On Up) focusing on the benefits art can bring to rural communities.
2003 ‘Ports of Knowledge’. (16mins). Producer. Documentary featuring Susan Sontag for ‘Boxing Clever’, International Symposium, Centre for the Study of Surrealism and Its Legacies.


Joseph Cornell and Surrealism in America / Avant-garde film / Twentieth Century American Art / Contemporary Scottish Art.


Books: 1999 ‘Joseph Cornell’s Vision of Spiritual Order’, London: Reaktion Books. 2015 “‘Lines of Flight’: ‘Rhizomatic’ Reachings in the Gàidhealtachd (Scottish Highlands)”. Essay. Narratives Unfolding: National Art Histories in an Unfinished World. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press.



lindsay blair images

  1. Jacket cover for Blair, Lindsay. Joseph Cornell’s Vision of Spiritual Order, London: Reaktion Books. 1999
  2. Schueler, Jon. The Sound of Rhum. Mallaig. 1957. Oil on Canvas. 201 x 127 cm. (79 x 50 in.) o/c 57-44
  3. Maclean, Will and Leven, Marian. An Sùileachan. 2013. Stone, granite, iron and wood construction.