Dartmoor Project

A project coming from immersing myself in a particular landscape and allowing sculpture, installation work and paintings to arise from the experience. 

I have known the landscape of southern and western Dartmoor for a long time, but not the moorland near Okehampton in the north. For the summer of 2004 I wanted to work there before an exhibition at the Monks Withecombe Gallery near Chagford in September 2004. 

The high moor is a place of raw presence and contrast, an ancient land with memories deep within the granite. The changes to the surface of the landscape from hour to hour and season to season express a raw power which is both challenging and reassuring. In times of global human dilemma and confusion the profound honesty of nature is a magnificent spiritual solace to be found in such places of wilderness. Moods of gentleness and timelessness contrast with violent storms and heavy fog, and yet within each experience is the possibility of magical and transforming experience.

 The paintings produced are in two groups. The point of departure came in a series of large square mixed media works. Square paper eliminates preconceived guidelines of portrait or landscape orientation and naturally draws attention to the surface and a direct experience. These are the first group. 

 

( please click for larger images. )

 

The second group arose through experiences of the moor during weeks of thunder and flood. Occasional walks between the storms supported periods of working in my large tent/studio. The processes changed and experiences of the landscape were held in the imagination while working with natural materials collected at places of significance. Pine needles, earth, sand and sticks were applied to square canvasses and then dryly painted with oil and acrylic. The process was ritualistic and concentrated on embodying the essential experience of a landscape. Arising emotions gave birth to related imagery as the paintings combined elements of physical presence, illusionary image and the suggestion of symbol.

 

( please click for larger images. )

Articles on the exhibition

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