‘Experiencing the Landscape’ is the culmination of a year-long collaborative project between Thelma Hulbert Gallery (THG) and East Devon AONB. The project celebrates 25 years of the East Devon Way (EDW), the 40-mile footpath running from Exmouth to Lyme Regis.
The aim of the project has been to use diverse art forms and artists to enable people of all ages to engage with the natural landscape in new ways.
This exhibition will showcase new work created especially for this project by local contemporary artists Angus Rutherford, Gabby Hoad and Jenny Mellings. Exhibited alongside will be a reflection of the 80 nature-based creative workshops undertaken with schools and the public.
Throughout the summer, THG and their partners are offering a programme of nature-based art opportunities and workshops along the EDW and at THG.
THG is working with a range of artists and art forms (printmaking, creative writing, cyanotypes, pin-hole cameras, tactile painting and much more) and the exhibition will be an opportunity to find out more about the EDW.
Artist Angus Rutherford led investigative drawing workshops in the landscape and told ArtsCulture: “It was enormously satisfying to work with the students and equally satisfying to ‘learn’ the methods anew through their varied and wonderful responses. “The motto for this project might have been ‘as long as you observe hard, whatever comes from your fingers will have an integrity’ ”.
Jenny Mellings, who explored pre-photography methods of capturing the landscape said: “In celebration of the 25 years since this walk was created (or more likely re-established) I undertook to make 25 paintings made with mainly local pigments, and sometimes found foliage for tools. There are also photographic records of my walks that form a separate body of work.
“As with any long hike, the slow speed and proximity to the ground allows one to absorb the atmosphere of the landscape at every turn.
“Along much of the way, are the smooth rounded pebbles or ‘popples’ that by the end of the walk, begin to make clearer the nature of the vast river that ran through the land 240 million years ago.
“Walking across them, this piece of information really begins to sink in, and visions of that time slowly emerge. On closer inspection, plants from later prehistoric eras are found to be thriving, such as Equisetum, a ‘living fossil’. Never in a car (or train) would one experience direct contact with all this evidence of past life.”
This project partnered with organisations including the RSPB, Forestry Commission England, Clinton Devon Estates, EDDC, LED Walking for Health and festivals such as Heath Week, Sidmouth Walking Festival, Devon Open Studios, Dorset Art Weeks, The Big Draw and Museums At Night.
The project has been funded by Arts Council England, Defra, The Northbrook Community Trust, The Elmgrant Trust, Tesco Bags for Help, Devon County Council, EDDC, THG and East Devon AONB.
Experiencing the Landscape – Art on the East Devon Way: 8 September – 27 October 2018. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm. Free admission.
Celebratory Halloween Party: Saturday 27 October, 5-9pm.
Top image: Anne-Marie. Courtesy of Simon Tuttey
(from a press release)
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