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Evacuations & Estuaries: The Nature of Landscape


Seminar - Saturday 25 th May 2013

Abbey Walk Gallery 8 Abbey Walk, Grimsby DN31 1NB tel: 01472 241007
Booking Essential - Tickets £15

A day of talks by artists and academics whose practice and research concentrates around subjects relating to landscape and place.

Part of a two-year project which focuses on the duality of actuality and metaphor arising from the title, Excavations & Estuaries.


10am - Linda Ingham & Jeremy Leigh : Welcome & Introduction

Excavations . . .

10.15 David Ainley

Landscape Issues: Necessary Excavations
Success and Failure in Landscape Painting

The conventions of landscape painting conceal as much as they reveal about our environment. The manner and significance of this occlusion, and the remedy that lies at the heart of David Ainley's critical engagement with painting, will be explored with references to aspects of mining and quarrying that unearth the success and failure of the genre.

11.00 David Walker Barker

The Dynamics of Change

The Earth continually remakes itself; from its innermost core to the living patina that clothes its surface, its splendour constructed from its eroding ruins. Breaking down and reforming is part of the slow transformation of all things, of history happening in cycles, the eternal recurrence of the same.

11.45 David Walker Barker and David Ainley

In Conversation

David Walker Barker and David Ainley discuss the overlapping concerns and elements within their practice.

12.15 - Q & A
12.45 - Lunch
13.30 - Welcome back

Excavations & Estuaries...

13.35 Harriet Tarlo and Judith Tucker

Between Lines in Space: drawing and writing in landscape

In this talk the poet, Harriet Tarlo, and artist, Judith Tucker, will reflect on how drawing and poetry, in conversation with each other, can present an audience with an enriched perspective of specific places. Having worked together for two years in West Yorkshire, Harriet and Judith will discuss their new Estuaries and Excavations collaboration exploring the mouth of the Humber between Cleethorpes and Tetney. Early stages of this work are presented as drawings and short poems- for-the-wall in the current exhibition at Abbey Walk Gallery. The presentation will include a reading of some of the poems.

14.15 Amy Cutler

Men Sign the Sea: modern poetry on Britain's North Sea coast

Amy Cutler will discuss coastal literatures of Northumbria and Yorkshire and their 'long memory of the shore and sea' (Mottram), particularly bringing out the Norse influences in texts by Colin Simms (No North Western Passage), Bill Griffiths (Fishing and Folk: Life and Dialect on the Northumbrian Coast), Eric Mottram ('Raids: Knot and Keel'), and Katrina Porteous (The Blue Lonnen). She'll make illustrated references to the links between language and invasions, coastal history, and ship-sailing.

15.00 Joy Sleeman

Excavations & Estuaries

Joy Sleeman will offer a response to Excavations and Estuaries relating to themes emerging from her work on the current survey exhibition, Uncommon Ground: Land art in Britain 1966-1979 (Southampton City Art Gallery, 10 May - 3 August), and her wider research in the field of landscape and Land art.

15.45 - Q & A
16.30 approx. Close.


[acc:David Ainley]
David Ainley is an artist who, not through any lack of appreciation of the conventions of landscape but because he is concerned with an aspect of our surroundings that is rarely reflected in art, makes paintings and drawings that challenge people's expectations of the representation of countryside. He is drawn to places in mid-Derbyshire and elsewhere which are quarried or have a surface of hollows and hillocks that are the legacy of leadmining, below which hundreds of shafts and tunnels lie hidden. The human endeavour involved in extracting ore, and the fact that it is largely overlooked, is the artist's subject matter, reflected not in illustrations of miners at the rockface but in complex and lengthy procedures of painting and drawing that resonate with the few inches a day that miners cut into hard rock with picks in times before explosives were used.

David Ainley has had many solo shows including an acclaimed exhibition at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham. He has twice been shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize and was winner of the Derby City Open Exhibition (2004). Last year he had work selected for The Discerning Eye at The Mall Galleries, London. He has taught Fine Art practice and theory at Universities and Colleges throughout England, including the University of Nottingham, and has been engaged by Winsor & Newton to lecture on materials and techniques in the practice of painting.

[acc:David Walker Barker]

David Walker Barker is an artist and collector whose interest in aspects of geology and landscape evolution developed whilst he was studying at the Royal College of Art in London. Since 2005 he has completed three major research assignments including an AHRC funded research project and exhibition ‘In Search of a Hidden Landscape' in collaboration with Killhope, t he North of England Lead Mining Museum in Weardale, County Durham. An Arts-Science based collaboration ‘The Naked Quarry' was completed in 2008 and a research project and major exhibition “Objects of Curious Virtue, Echoes of John Ruskin, the Cabinets and Artworks of David Walker Barker,” in collaboration with the Ruskin Library and Research Centre at Lancaster University, was completed in 2010.

Landscapes and geological contexts have provided references for a range of paintings, drawings and painted constructions and more recently for cabinets housing collections of geological specimens and artefacts, excavated from the landscape contexts that he explores, and the fabricated objects he makes to accompany them. In his artwork he is concerned with the extraordinary relationship between geological and human histories, this residue being an indication of the wearing away of previous histories. The estuary is itself evidence of a continual excavation, the slow yet remorseless wearing away of land, of rocks lain down millions of years previously by a similar migration of sediments carried by rivers down to the oceans.

[acc:Harriet Tarlo]

Harriet Tarlo is a poet who lives in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire. Poetry publications include Love/Land (REM Press, 2003), Poems 1990-2003 (Shearsman Books, 2004) and Nab (Etruscan Books, 2005). Parts of her critical-creative work in progress on the field in British and American open form poetry appear in the latest edition of Fire and in a new book on Placing Poetry , just out with Rodopi Press April 2013.

Harriet is particularly interested in exploring new ways of writing about landscape, which reflect poetic experiment and the way our crowded island is now, rather than how we wish it might be. This led to her editing the well-received anthology, The Ground Aslant: An Anthology of Radical Landscape Poetry, for Shearsman Press in 2011. She is also interested in environmentalism and eco-criticism and edited a special feature on “Women and Eco-Poetics” for How2 Vol 3: No 2

Harriet has worked on place-based collaborative projects before. Her poems about the Cumbrian coast appeared with Jem Southam's Clouds Descending photographic exhibitions at The Lowry Gallery, Salford and Tullie House, Carlisle in 2008-9. She has been collaborating with the artist, Judith Tucker, since Autumn 2011 on the project Tributaries , producing poems and drawings around the Black Hill area between Manchester and Holmfirth.

Harriet is also an academic who teaches at Sheffield Hallam University where she is Course Leader for the M.A. Writing. She writes academic essays on modernist and contemporary poetry with particular attention to gender and landscape and environment. Essays in books appear in critical volumes published by Edinburgh University Press., Salt, Palgrave, Rodopi and Bloodaxe. Recent critical and creative work appears in Pilot, Jacket , Rampike , English, the Journal of Ecocriticism (JoE) and Classical Receptions.

[acc:Judith Tucker]

Judith Tucker is an artist whose practice explores the meeting of social history, personal memory and landscape; it investigates their relationship through drawing, painting and scholarly writing. The focus of her work is to investigate how drawing, painting and ‘landscape' might interrelate, and how one can be the interface for the other. She has lived in the Holme Valley since 1997 and has her home and studio in a converted farmhouse and barn. In addition to being an artist she spends part of her time at the University of Leeds where she is Senior Lecturer in the School of Design. She is co convenor of two relevant and linked research networks: Mapping Spectral Traces which is a trans-disciplinary, international group of scholars, practitioners, community leaders and artists who work with and in traumatized communities, contested lands and diverse environments and Land2 a national network of artist / lecturers and research students with an interest in landscape / place-oriented art practice.

Until recently the focus of her work has been on continental holiday resorts resulting in three suites of work Resort, Tense and Spectres on the Beach. This ten-year body of work contributes to the aesthetic discourse about landscape and art after the trauma of the Holocaust. Judith has also undertaken other place-based collaborative projects, these include, “Fieldwork”, alongside a group of fellow-artists on the island of Mull. This produced work for exhibition in Tobermory and a book of reflections and images. More recently working in collaboration with Harriet Tarlo on Tributaries and on a Millspace residency with the sculptor Deborah Gardner on Placing the Mill at Armley Mills, Leeds Industrial Museum have taken her work into an exploration of the contemporary northern landscape. Judith has exhibited widely both in the UK and abroad.

Judith Tucker also writes academic essays which can be found in academic journals and in books published by Rodopi, Macmillan , Intellect and Gunter Narrverlag, Tübingen.

[acc:Amy Cutler]

Amy Cutler has a BA and a Masters in English from the University of Oxford, and is finishing her PhD in cultural geography at Royal Holloway, University of London, where she studies historical and geographical contexts of modern poetry. She has a chapter on British coastal poetry in Liverpool University Press's forthcoming volume Poetry & Geography: Space, Place, & Post-War Poetry (2013), and her first book, Nostalgia Forest , has just been published by Oystercatcher Press. Her blog is at amycutler where she can be contacted.

[acc:Joy Sleeman]

Joy Sleeman lectures in History and Theory of Art at UCL Slade School of Fine Art, London. She is co-curator, with Nicholas Alfrey and Ben Tufnell, of Uncommon Ground: land art in Britain, 1966 - 1979, a touring exhibition from the Arts Council Collection.

Joy's research embraces aspects of the histories of sculpture and landscape and these two areas of interest coalesce in her work on the new forms of landscape art that emerged in the 1960s, often referred to as ‘Land Art'. Land Art, and most particularly the work and contribution of artist in Britain, is the area of research with which her work is most consistently associated, and she has published numerous articles, chapters in books, and essays for exhibition catalogues related to this area.

Joy is frequently invited to give public lectures, talks and conference papers at institutions such as Tate, Scottish national Gallery of Modern Art, Nottingham University (Djanogly Gallery), The Gallery at Norwich University College of the Arts, The Collection Lincoln, Henry Moore Institute and The Getty, Los Angeles.