In The Open | David Walker Barker & Dan Eltringham
David Walker Barker is an artist and collector with interests in landscape evolution, the relationship between geological and human histories and the narratives that emerge from those connections. His themes represent a sense of underlying natural processes, the complexity of environments and the human appropriation of natural material into a cultural realm. Such contexts have provided reference points for a range of paintings, drawings, painted constructions and cabinets housing collections of geological specimens and artefacts discovered in the landscape environments he explores.He was head of Fine Art Painting at Bretton Hall College of Higher Education and latterly a lecturer in the School of Design at Leeds University from which he retired in 2011. He is a Companion of the Guild of St George and a member of LAND2. His artworks have been exhibited nationally and internationally and are in public and private collections at home and abroad. He lives in Elsecar, South Yorkshire
Dan Eltringham is a researcher and poet interested in ecopoetics, enclosure and the politics of landscape. He recently completed his PhD at Birkbeck College, University of London, with a thesis entitled ‘Tracking the Commons: Pastoral, Enclosure and Commoning in J. H. Prynne and William Wordsworth’. He has completed Visiting Fellowships at the John Rylands Research Institute, University of Manchester (2017) and at the School of Global Environmental Sustainability, Colorado State University (2015), where he contributed towards the research network ‘Learning from the Land’. An article, ‘Shifting vantage, common musings: the politics of Wordsworthian excursus in the poetry of Peter Riley’, is forthcoming with Textual Practice, and he has published critical work on R. F. Langley. His poetry has recently appeared in Plumwood Mountain, Colorado Review, Zarf, Epizootics! and DATABLEED. His first collection, Cairn Almanac, was published by Hesterglock Press in 2017. He co-edits Girasol Press and co-runs Electric Arc Furnace, a new poetry readings series in Sheffield
Searching for Jossie: Surface & Underground in the Landscape of Langsett & Midhope
Poems, drawings, small paintings, transfer prints onto stone and a range of fabricated and found objects represent a multifaceted engagement with this landscape initiated by our search for the ‘Jossie Cabin’, a shepherd’s that stood on Stanny (Stoney) Common.
The collaboration investigates a layered landscape drawing on the histories of erasure and resource in the moorland communities of Langsett and Midhope, ten miles to the north west of Sheffield, which were transformed by the construction of several large reservoirs in the early part of the twentieth century.
We walked the reservoir landscapes in search of the erased and the indecipherable. We have responded to an unfindable shepherd’s hut and grave, the enclosures that ended one way of life, and to the homesteads and valley drowned to supply municipal drinking water. Much has proved unrecoverable – Jossie’s Cabin and what lay beneath the blue sheet of the reservoir – but what we failed to locate, as well as what unexpectedly came to light, came to seem more of a pretext, a permission to delve.