Entrance to the Lane ; Margins of the Lane; Liminal; Permeable Edge; Between Things
These exhibitions formed a series of exhibitions focusing on landscape, contingency, history and visual space in contemporary art.
The exhibitions grew out of a shared research interest amongst the colleagues in the Fine Art Department. The idea developed out of debates and propositions around the nature, status and history of painting. Specifically the challenge became how to reposition the genre of ‘landscape’ as subject matter. A key starting point was the collection of British Modernist works in the collection of the University of Chichester Bishop Otter Trust Collection. This collection has a remarkable selection of art works and a wonderful archive that shows the development of modernist visual ‘languages’ and artists’ approaches to landscape as motif, as subject and as concept. The works of Lanyon, Heron, Piper, Frost and many others provided the legacy that this series of exhibitions wanted to work with in re-assessing the relationship of contemporary art, particularly painting, to the notion of landscape. In the last twenty years or more, issues such as ecology, private and public spaces, urbanisation, edge-lands and wilderness have added to and refigured contemporary ideas of ‘landscape’.
The first exhibition took its title form Graham Sutherlands painting ‘Entrance to a Lane’ a version of which is in the collection. It was a fitting starting point. Entrance to a Lane proposed a point of entry and a ‘point of departure’ carrying associations to the idea of moving into a space to discover what lay there.
These five exhibitions ran from 2011 through to 2017. Entrance to a Lane; The Margins of the Lane; Liminal; Permeable Edge; Between Things
For the ‘Permeable Edge’ exhibition artist Matthew Burrows, in his role as curator of the show, compiled the following:
“In his contribution to the publication ‘Unit One’ (1934) the British artist Paul Nash asked if England had a national character? Indeed we could go further and ask has the English landscape formed a national artistic sensibility?
British Modernism can seem modest and intellectually discreet, polite even, when compared with American and European counterparts. It may not have the swagger and self-assurance, but does this lessen its value? What, if anything, is specific to England as an island culture? And where has this permeated the work of contemporary British painting?
Permeable Edge explores these questions through eighty years of British painting. It looks to those small, but not insignificant, conversations that artists have across generations and changing contexts. From Paul Nash’s watercolour of Hampstead Gardens Under Snow, to the explorations in abstraction by Sandra Blow, Terry Frost, Patrick Heron and William Gear. The exhibition culminates by looking at how and where this overlaps, in the work of contemporary British painters, including Phoebe Unwin and the artist duo Biggs and Collings.
Matthew Burrows Visiting Fellow to the department of Fine Art at the University of Chichester.
In the course of the 5 exhibitions many different artists were brought together in the company of works selected from the University collections. Each exhibition produced very different outcomes. The dynamic between the works enabled the opening up of dialogues that allowed for new critical insights and new visual propositions that became the series of symposia related to each exhibition. The notion of space and surface was not just of how to re-figure landscape but of how painting in the contemporary world could address the many aspects of representation, materiality and visual ‘substance’ in the flow between history and concept, maker and viewer.
Images on the left are some of the work I made for those exhibitions. More work can be seen in other posts and galleries on this site.