Landscape Revisited explores Yorkshire surroundings through photos at Scarborough Art Gallery

By Susila Silva | 06 October 2011
A photo of a man standing on top of a mound above the sea taking a photo on a tripod
Exhibition: Landscape Revisited, Scarborough Art Gallery, Scarborough, until December 4 2011

Intended as a completely new concept in the study of landscape and art, this show aims to encourage a reappraisal of landscape as a legitimate subject for contemporary fine art practice by stimulating a debate on the English Landscape.

Landscape photographer Joe Cornish and artist Kane Cunningham have worked on the project both collaboratively and independently alongside museum curator Jan Bee Brown for more than two years.

The original compositions are a response to the historic collection of landscape art housed at Scarborough Art Gallery, as well as the Yorkshire landscape itself, concentrating on its multiple narratives and rich layers of meaning, context and social history

Jan Bee Brown, a freelance artist, curator and designer renowned for her boundary crossing approach, sheds light on how the project was born.

"As the East Coast changes before our very eyes, I was keen to invite Kane and Joe to work with and be inspired by the collection in the care of Scarborough Art Gallery," she says.

"The collaboration has been unique and builds on the success of past home grown exhibitions, while literally breaking new ground."

Joe Cornish trained in the fine arts but has worked as a professional in photography for more than 30 years. Ever mystified by the often-scant regard paid to his medium, he views the project as an opportunity to challenge views.

Kane Cunningham is a leading landscape painter with a national reputation. He recently achieved worldwide publicity for The House Project, part installation, part sculpture; it is a house that sits on the edge of a cliff in Yorkshire ready to fall into the sea.

This is an arranged marriage of opposites which had every potential of a messy divorce. But Cunningham says working with Cornish has been "an inspiration", particularly when out in the landscape.

"We would work independently then talk about each others approach and intentions...it quickly emerged we were concerned about the same issues but expressed them in different ways," he explains.

"Photography and painting have never been easy bed fellows," adds Cornish.

"The language we use, both aesthetically and in conversations, has been compatible, yet our methods and results have been very different."

The exhibition not only presents a compelling case for landscape as a significant genre and creative subject, but also offers the viewer an opportunity to engage in the debate over photography as art and the power of landscape in today’s digital and multimedia world.

  • Open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm. Admission £2/£1.80 (free for under-18s, unlimited annual pass including admission to Rotunda Museum £9/£8.)
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