As World War Two loomed, Paul Nash’s obsessions leaned towards more esoteric forms. The landscape became a fantastical entity, the realm of old magic that had already been of much interest to the artist, but one that gradually heightened as reality darkened around him once more. He moved more to photography as a medium in itself, as well as to take reference material for his … Continue reading Responses: Paul Nash’s Monster Field
A few months back, I visited the retrospective of Vanessa Bell’s paintings at Dulwich Picture Gallery. The exhibition is still ongoing and an essential visit for anyone with a passion for those strange groups of English rebels that seemed to flourish in the arts around the Fin de siècle. It confirmed for me Bell’s position as one of the most underrated artists from that period, … Continue reading Responses: Virginia Woolf (1912) – Vanessa Bell
Interest in Robert Smithson’s landwork, Spiral Jetty (1970), peaked for me recently when reading Geoff Dyer’s interesting collection of travel works, White Sands (2016). Dyer described in his chapter, entitled Time in Space, his journey to the artwork and the delayed reaction in appreciating it; in fact most of White Sands deals with the delayed and perhaps even nonexistent reaction to the finale of a … Continue reading Responses: Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty (1970)
Late last year, I became obsessed with visiting a certain item in the British Museum. Deliberately choosing to work in or near Bloomsbury, I would often wander into the building in between working, making my way straight to one of the room’s (on the right of the building) with a confidence and determination that clearly unnerved my various tourist companions. I would stride into the … Continue reading Responses: John Dee’s Obsidian Mirror
I’ve written extensively about Derek Jarman’s short super-8 film, Journey To Avebury; one of his earliest experiments in film that channels so much of the genii loci of English landscapes, ubiquitous in the more interesting of English arts. His walk through the Wiltshire landscape after the intense stint of work on the sets for Ken Russell’s The Devils (1971) seems to have had a larger … Continue reading Responses: Derek Jarman’s Landscape Paintings
When Jeremy Deller took control of the UK’s pavilion in the 2013 Venice Biennale, the press coverage caught hold of one specific aspect that the artist discussed; its “aggressiveness”. With environmental concern sat at the heart of the exhibition, alongside the general political upheaval caused by the coalition government during its third year of power, it’s unsurprising to find Deller’s work channelling some form of … Continue reading Responses: Jeremy Deller’s A Good Day For Cyclists (2013)
Throughout 2016, I’ve been trying to respond to artwork about landscape in more ways than simply essays. I found that in trying convey work that I liked, there was only so far I could go with conventional journalistic and essay writing. At the tail-end of each response article, I’ve been sneaking in a poem about the work and its themes so thought it would be … Continue reading Responses: Poems On Landscape and Melancholy
I first encountered the work of Tessa Farmer during a rainy daydream in Saatchi Gallery a few years back. It was a strange experience as, staring at her Swarm (2004) piece, it took a while to pinpoint exactly what was unnerving about the work. The discovery of a micro-agency controlling the taxidermic happenings in the form of Arthur Machen-like faeries is key to the enjoyment … Continue reading Responses: Tessa Farmer’s La Chasse (2016)
The photography series, Areas Of Outstanding Natural Beauty (1982-1984), was the first work I came across by Keith Arnatt. This was some time before he would eventually be back in vogue thanks to Tate Britain’s well received conceptual exhibition, of which his most famous work, Self Burial (1969), was the publicity image for. Very much like the landscapes that so much of Arnatt’s work captures, … Continue reading Responses: Keith Arnatt’s A.O.N.B (1982-1984).
Alison and Peter Smithson are two of the most influential architects of the 20th century. This is in spite of the fact that only several of their buildings made it past the design stage and that, of those that did in the UK at least, they have often been reviled as the most grim of Brutalist designs. Yet, apart from their buildings standing out for … Continue reading Responses: Alison and Peter Smithson’s Architecture (London).