A few months ago I joined forces with four fellow artists to explore the idea of making new artwork in response to historic locations around Yorkshire. This was a bold experiment for me but I couldn’t resist because Lorna Barrowclough, Hondartza Fraga, Carla Moss, Valerie Zwart and I have so many cross-over interests – and we are now good friends as well. I have been looking at ways to link my writing and personal art-making more closely and working with these talented artists has helped me focus my ideas in ways I could not have imagined at the start.
When we learned of the opportunity to show our work at Fountains Hall, the Tudor manor on the grounds of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal in North Yorkshire, we jumped at the chance. Over the summer we made field trips to the stunning house, abbey ruins and grounds to sketch and photograph. I had many magical moments walking the wooded paths, visiting the other-worldly Georgian follies dotted around Studley Royal’s water park and marvelling at Fountain Abbey’s atmospheric ruins. After some very stimulating conversations about our approach to the work, we planned the exhibition and gave ourselves a name: The [Re]enchantment Project.
I began with blank canvasses, gave them a swift undercoat of colour and made the first two of a series of paintings that re-imagine the Hall and follies after hours, when the spirits of the place are free to roam. This is just the start of a collection that pulls together the things I am most interested in: magic, the supernatural, light and dark, landscape and more.
We christened our debut exhibition, curated by Valerie Zwart:
So Far, So Awesome: The [Re]enchantment Imperative
And we set out our approach: Since the early to mid 19th century, the need to re-enchant— to meaningfully connect to our world through mystery, wonder and awe — has been a persistent feature in our cultural history. In photos, paintings, books and a site-specific installation, five Leeds artists based at East Street Arts create alter-realities within the context of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal. In an era marked by disillusionment, this exhibition explores how historical sites continue to be relevant as touchstones for our imaginative engagement with things and places.
We set the dates: Thursday, October 9 to Thursday, October 23, 2014
We chose these dates to coincide with Fountains by Floodlight, a programme of evening illuminations, choral music and food that Fountains abbey is hosting on 11 and 18 October events. Please see the Abbey website for details.)
Opening times: 10 am to 5 pm daily (please be aware that normal admission to the site will be charged)
Meet the Artists reception: 3:30-5:00pm, Saturday, 18 October
Location: Fountains Hall, Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal, Fountains, Ripon, North Yorkshire HG4 3DY
Everyone is invited! If you would like to be added to our mailing list for future exhibitions, please email us: reenchantmentprojectATgmail.com