“The composition is such that if unravelled, [the birds] would stretch into a fishing line of sorts.”
The three titular herons that constitute Steve Dilworth’s ‘Three Herons’ came from a nearby fish farm, where they had broken their necks trying to take farmed fish out of a cage. Twenty-five feathers on each heron’s wing and twelve tail feathers were removed by Dilworth in numerical sequence and then adorned with a fish hook and bound with line, taking nearly 200 hooks in total. Like Dilworth’s bronze-encased ‘Eels and Puffin’, where the predator is devoured by its prey, the Three Herons are bound to natural cycles of birth, life, death, decay and renewal, rendered in a fatalistic imagination of their own demise.
Dilworth often encases natural objects he has found within his sculptures. The solid remains of animals and birds, beautiful in their own right, impart an energy and life to his sculpture. Even when completely enclosed, like the heart in a living body or the engine in a static vehicle, they empower the sculpture in both conceptual and symbolic ways. Dilworth says: 'I want to retrieve that moment of understanding, not by describing but by making. Of course I’ll fail, but in that chemistry of making another moment will appear. These objects are drawn from an internal landscape of shifting sands, connections are constantly being discovered.
Many of Dilworth’s works belong to permanent collections, such as the Scottish Arts Council Collection and the Knox Collection in Suffolk. He has also undertaken numerous private and public commissions for various institutions including Scotia Pharmaceuticals, Dundee City Council and Cass Sculpture Foundation. His work has been featured in a wide range of publications, television programmes and films, including a joint exhibition and film entitled Great Book of Gaelic and most recently a major solo exhibition entitled Mortal Remains at An Lanntair Arts Centre, Stornoway.