Cones and cairns have long held a fascination for Ian Boyle. Built simply from piles of stones and placed along walking trails, often in remote areas, they have both strength and vulnerability. To a traveller they can feel rather like familiar old friends. They become beacons, a reassurance that this path has been travelled before. They are almost a human presence when sited in the landscape; a solid reliable presence with an element of ‘tadasana’, the yoga mountain pose. In fact, for Boyle the process of the making is in itself very meditative and this is often reflected in the finished piece.
There are two of Ian Boyle’s cones at Brick Bay. Mountain Pose is constructed from stone using traditional dry stone walling techniques. Tall and narrow, it has an elegant presence. This is enhanced by the thin spiral band of white stone that swirls around the blue/grey cone, petering out near the top.
Stick Stac is smaller in size and built as a response to the artist’s first experience of Brick Bay. This cone is built up with sticks gathered from around the trail. These have been cut into short lengths and laid like stones into the centre of the cone. Thus the outside face of the cone is made up of the fresh cut ends of the sticks. The centre of the cone is filled with a soil/cement mix, as is used in earth sculptures, to bind the cone tightly and create stability.
This work reflects a new development for Boyle in that he is working with familiar techniques but experimenting with his materials. The element of time becomes a component in the project as the fresh cut sticks dry out and alter colour. In this it is similar to the changes to stone over the seasons. Thus it expands the exploration of the effects of time; it is a further journey into the world of simultaneous beauty and decay.