Gone To Earth2nd May - 13th June
Gone To Earth - a survey of artistic responses to the landscape including sculpture, painting, photography and video installation.
Adam Chodzko Derek Jarman Fabrice Cazenave Sarah Lucas Samuel Palmer Alan Kane
Jamie Reid Derek Hyatt Eric Geddes
Derek Jarman. Still from A Journey to Avebury, 1971, S8mm. Courtesy James Mackay.
He moved out now into the middle of the road and surveyed the landscape. As he did so, two very distinct and contradictory odours assailed his nostrils. There were no houses across the way, nothing but a foul-smelling ditch, the receptacle of sewage from an adjoining pig-yard: and beyond that an enormously high hedge, on the top of which, where no child could reach, grew clumps of honeysuckle and sprays of wild roses.
Wolf Solent (1929)
John Cowper Powys
If the Romantic movement developed through disillusion after the bloody horror of revolution, it follows that this rush to the Liberty of Eden was a very British, post-Enlightenment sanctuary search for those wealthy enough to perhaps have seen the Great terror firsthand or to have the time and energy to read and discuss the issues of the day. For those less fortunate, this rural idyll was harsh and brutal, cold, depressing, desperate, impoverished and isolating. Even the etymology of the word 'landscape' has socio-economic implications, coming as it does from Landschaft - meaning the area just beyond the urban territory; also 'pagan' - coming from 'paganis', meaning 'of the country' - different, not civilised, wild...; and the notion of the rural as retreat has endured (of course the tragedy of the Great War prompted a neo-Romantic movement - Nash, Spencer, Bomberg). After two hundred years plus of advice on where and how to look for the picturesque (from William Gilpin (1724-1804) to National Rail's helpful excursion suggestions) and despite the agribusiness, polytunnels, rural homelessness and unemployment, is it possible to put down those mythomaniacal CAMRA goggles and leap beyond a view of the rural landscape as mere assemblage of contours, colours and cultural conditioning?
Gone To Earth is not an attempt to group works by those who have achieved this but to encourage us to make our own leap.
I sate me down ... upon a bank
With Ivy canopied, and interwove
With flaunting Hony-suckle, and began
Wrapt in a pleasing fit of melancholy
To meditate my rural minstrelsie,
Till fancy had her fill, but ere a close
The wonted roar was up amidst the Woods,
And fill'd the Air with barbarous dissonance
(Note: both the title of this exhibition - Gone To Earth (Powell and Pressburger, 1952) and the above quoted Wolf Solent (John Cowper Powys, 1929) are both wonderful paeans to the perils of rustic lust and are highly recommended)
"Untitled" 2008 - pencil on paper - 100 x 100 cm