The Scottish Gallery is honoured to celebrate Malcolm Appleby’s 70th birthday which marks over 50 years of a creative tour de force. Malcolm Appleby has dedicated his artistic practice primarily to engraving and pushing the boundaries of metalwork; constant experimentation has made him a master of his craft and in 2014 he received an MBE for his outstanding contribution to the arts.
This birthday exhibition sets out to provide a snapshot of Malcolm’s current work. The Gallery has been associated with Malcolm Appleby since the 1970s; the many facets of his work has brought joy to many, each piece sold marking the beginning of a journey of discovery around this senior artist. Professor Elizabeth Moignard’s essay provides us with further insight into his studio practice and career and we are grateful to the contemporary photographer David Eustace who has allowed us to use three images of Malcolm taken from his Friends and Artists portfolio.
Last but not least, The Gallery is indebted to Philippa Swann, Malcolm’s wife who, amongst many other things, is the lifeblood of Malcolm’s business and whose many photographs of his work grace these pages.
Malcolm Appleby was born in Kent, and trained, given his obvious talent, in a series of respected art schools in the south east of England, finishing with the RCA in 1968, followed by the award of the Littledale Scholarship by the Goldsmiths’ Company – a promising foundation. From our point of view now, though, it was the move to Scotland in 1969 and the setting up of his first studio in Crathes which mark the beginnings of a lifetime of work which has always had its roots in his instinctive sense of connection with the place he inhabits.
This feeds the enduring love of nature, and the commitment to its conservation, and also the evident sense of social duty to the humans who operate in it too. Now based in Perthshire, he and his household are living and working in one of the oldest inhabited landscapes in Scotland, and his sense of being embedded in its natural environment is an enduring element in his aesthetic. A persistently enquiring mind, and the courage to experiment provide many of the drivers which make that emotional base produce some extraordinary work, beautiful, amusing, challenging, sometimes all at once.