The engraving, Melencolia I upon which Scota 01 is based is an allegorical self-portrait by the German Renaissance artist, Albrecht Durer. Here, it seems the starting point for an allegory of the predicament of the contemporary Scottish artist. In the Durer, the winged figure, a paradoxically earthbound angel, sits dejectedly, surrounded by the objects that represent the pursuit of knowledge and understanding; Mathematics, Astronomy, Philosophy, Geometry and the Arts. The image speaks in general terms about the futility of the search for Truth. Colvin's figure is Scota, the mythical Egyptian princess from whom Gaels and Scots are descended. She sits in the bleak and decaying landscape of Blind Ossian, gazing into the prevailing gloom with the aid of the projector light that she wears like a miner's helmet; and what she sees makes her despair.
Scota represents both Scotland and the artist when intellectual ambition and creative imagination are constrained by the limitations of the modern world. The work contains particular references to photography as an ostensible recorder of 'truth', from glass negatives to the computer keyboard and the digitised copies of the portrait of Macpherson strewn on the ground. Digital manipulation makes possible a fake photography and a 'fake' reality.