Michael Scott (1946-2006) was born and brought up in the fishing towns of Peterhead and Hull before studying in the port city of Liverpool and teaching in the shipbuilding city of Glasgow. The motif of water, fish and fishing comes, then, as no surprise in his work but so too does social critique, symbolism and reflections on the human condition. They are all aspects of his intellectual and artistic thinking. One reviewer has written: Scott’s work is a fulsome and thoughtful body of work. Replete with ideas, challenging in its detail, commanding in its execution and generous in its rewards to the contemplative viewer.
Scott was, as McKenzie comments, ‘an artist with an insatiable appetite for experimentation and a profound willingness to learn’. Although he combined a high degree of independence as a natural auto-didact he acquired the fundamental craft of painting and drawing in fifteen years at the Glasgow School of Art evening school between 1975 and 1990 – following in the footsteps of an earlier part time student there – Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Unique in Scott’s case, though, was a parallel development of intellectual interests that drove his work as an academic social scientist. He lectured in Sociology of Culture and Philosophy at Glasgow Caledonian University from 1972 until 1996 and was described as ‘a gifted lecturer, a generous tutor and an enthusiast for knowledge, tempered with his personal example as a humane and humanist advocate of tolerance, and powerhouse of positive energy.’
His works range from an early and ongoing fascination with the Cubist endeavour; figurative work that married an exploration of classical themes with an examination of the human condition; and later work that highlight human folly and foolishness as well tragedy alongside the potential for human enlightenment, redemption and rest. Painting for Scott reflected a powerful desire to say something about the world.
In 1978, Mick first exhibited his work at the Royal Glasgow Institute and would continue to show at their annual exhibition until 1992, receiving the prestigious David Cargill Sr award in 1989. During the 1980s and 1990s, his paintings were frequently accepted for exhibition in the summer shows at the Royal Academy, in London, and at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh. In 1990, he was elected a professional member of the Society of Artists and Artist Craftsmen. And throughout the last two decades of his life, he would hold annual shows of his work at the Portland Gallery, in London, at Roger Billcliffe Fine Art, in Glasgow, and at The Contemporary Fine Art Gallery, in Eton. His paintings are now held in private collections throughout the world and he is represented in the distinguished Fleming Collection of Scottish Art in London.