Calum Colvin constructs three-dimensional sets from everyday household objects, which he paints images upon and then photographs. He re-interprets Titian's 'Venus' in a new and very exciting way. "What I wanted to do with it was look at the narrative behind it, the idea of Venus rising from the sea - the birth of Venus - and to make my own version of this image, which would refer to photography and to the notion of creativity, given that the story really is about creation". Colvin's creative stimulus is therefore literary as well as artistic. Like Titian, his point of departure is an ancient story about the goddess of love, as well as an artistic representation of the ideal female form.
This photograph was commissioned by the National Galleries of Scotland and is based on Titian's painting of the same name, which is owned by the National Galleries. Colvin's work was created by painting onto a specially-created three-dimensional set, which was then photographed to create a two-dimensional image. The objects in the set, such as shells and photographs of people in the sea, reflect elements of the original painting. Colvin brings his Venus up to date with a twist – behind her left eye is a camera on a tripod, so the observed subject of the image is also the observer.
Calum Colvin was born in Glasgow and studied art in Dundee and London, before coming to prominence in the mid-1980s. His early interest in sculpture led him to develop his unique style of 'constructed photography', creating small sets from everyday objects to resemble domestic interiors. More recently he has used digital technology to generate images that often ask uneasy questions about what makes one truly Scottish. He has exhibited extensively in Europe and the United States and has worked on a number of commissions by the National Galleries of Scotland.