8 years of formal art training took Iain Machell from Portsmouth College of Art in England and Grays School of Art in Scotland to a Master's degree in Sculpture at the University at Albany, State University of New York.
His drawings, book projects, and sculptures have been shown at The Drawing Center, The Sculpture Center, Artists Space and The Center for Book Arts in New York City. Installation projects and sculptures have been shown at the Dieu Donné Gallery in New York, the ARC Gallery Raw Space in Chicago, the Islip Art Museum Project Space on Long Island, the Contemporary Outdoor Sculpture at Chesterwood exhibitions in Stockbridge, MA, and Unison Art Center in New Paltz NY.
One of Machell’s books can be seen in the Museum of Modern Art/ Franklin Furnace/ Artist Book Collection. In Summer 2015 he completed an Artists Residency at the Platte Clove Preserve in the Catskill Mountains, NY and his most recent solo shows were in 2015 at Cross Contemporary Art in Saugerties NY, and 2017 at the Unison Arts Center, New Paltz NY.
Machell holds the position of Fine Art Professor Emeritus at SUNY Ulster and was awarded the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2012. He has been a Visiting Artist and Lecturer to a variety of colleges and universities including Parsons School of Art, University of Massachusetts, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Ball State University.
Machell, a Brit living in New York State’s Hudson Valley, has been engaged in observing the battle between the human condition and the natural world for many years. The new drawings and sculptures challenge the ideals of the romantic Hudson River painting school to a duel at dawn- with pistols not rapiers. He mines his British artistic legacy and unearths some more meaty influences on his current work, going back in time to the symbolic and distorted landscape sketches of Samuel Palmer; the gothic drama of Turner; the ominous chiaroscuro of Constable. From more recent times he doffs his cap to some more British landscape giants- the Welsh Coal Mine and London bombing drawings of Graham Sutherland, and the land art investigations of Richard Long and Hamish Fulton.
When asked what the core focus of his new work was Machell would only say “Looking, looking, and looking some more”. In his landscape images nature is not something to worship and aestheticize, it is under threat, dark and dangerous, and needs to be appeased because something is definitely wrong.