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Thursday 6th February 2020
Drawing out the ideas of people and place explored in Ben Rivers‘ Urthworks, the curator Josephine Lanyon explored ways of programming film in this film workshop.
In an informal environment we looked at artists’ film and its relationship to the cinema, gallery and public realm. This was a moment to explore a range of works, think about curatorial themes as well as gain practical information on how to take projects forward. The workshop brought together a small group of individuals interested in producing and exhibiting film in traditional and unusual contexts.
Sunday 2nd February 2020
With Ben Rivers, Mark von Schlegell and Sarah Shin with Josephine Lanyon and Tim Martin. Hosted by Gareth Evans
Marking the Urthworks exhibition at Hestercombe Gallery, this half day event brought together the artist, the films’ writer, the show’s curators and invited guests to consider the themes raised by Ben Rivers‘ ambitious and deeply imagined works.
Beginning with a contextualising walk through the grounds, ongoing conversation gave the audience a number of relaxed opportunities to discuss the show in depth. Gareth Evans hosted the event and contextualised Urthworks in current literature and film, while engaged publisher and event maker Sarah Shin provided a response to the show from her own richly transformational perspective. Hestercombe Gallery Director Tim Martin introduced us to the connections between the filmic landscapes and Somerset terrain.
Urthworks curator Josephine Lanyon considered the ways in which Rivers and the cave explorer Balch allow us to imagine the future of our planet by both voyaging back into history.
Crucially, exhibiting artist Ben Rivers and his collaborator, speculative fiction writer Mark Von Schlegell, uncovered the fascinating way they have developed complementary text and image narratives, weaving myth, scientific theory and contemporary debates on climate change into their provocative film trilogy.
Saturday 1st February 2020
Responding to Ben Rivers’ Urthworks exploration of ‘other worldliness in the world around us’, artists Katie Davis and Vicky Smith use approaches central to their own practices to conceive a 2-day 16mm film shoot and process workshop.
Using extension tubes, wide lenses and B&W fine grain negative film, the grazing not gazing workshop explored the transformative potential of macro film-making, where small things filmed close up, lacking external reference or perspective, seem altered, appearing as vast and textured landscapes. The workshop built on skills and approaches to using the 16mm Bolex camera that formed the 2018 Somerset Film workshop Tracks and Traces.
Friday 11th October 2019
This half-day symposium explored in more detail the life and work of Sir Edwin Lutyens and the ways in which artists Alex Hartley, Liz Nicol and Oliver Sutherland responded to Lutyens and his work at Hestercombe in their projects for the current exhibition at Hestercombe Gallery.
Speakers included Lutyens expert Charles Hind, Chief Curator of Drawings at the Royal Institute of British Architects, Niall Hobhouse of Drawing Matter, exhibiting artists Alex Hartley, Liz Nicol and Oliver Sutherland and exhibition curator Kate Best. We were also joined by special guest artist Neville Gabie, who launched ‘Outfield’, a Hestercombe Cricket Ground proposition.
Saturday 9th March 2019
A performance lecture looking at the history, allure and possible evaporation of the place called ‘Nowhere’ and imaging a point outside time called ‘Elsewhen’.
The last piece of the global atlas to be filled-in was the empty white continent of Antarctica. Since this landmass was finally traversed and mapped there now remains no ‘Terra Incognita’ left on this planet. Given that the grid of measured time and space on this planet is now complete, this lecture asked: where is ‘Nowhere’? and when is ‘Elsewhen’?
Friday 15th February 2019
This seminar explored the themes found in the exhibition, Materiality: provisional states.
Speakers included Irish poet, novelist and curator Cherry Smyth, who has written an essay for the exhibition catalogue which will be launched at this event. Artists Sarah Bennett, Megan Calver and Philippa Lawrence will also speak about their individual approaches to making art. There will be an opportunity to see the exhibition and discuss the work. Refreshments will be provided.
Tuesday 2nd October 2018
Referring to the title of Helen Sear’s current exhibition in Hestercombe Gallery, Prospect Refuge Hazard 2, and drawing on the theory posited by Jay Appleton in his 1975 book The Experience of Landscape, this seminar considered contemporary links between beauty and survival, in the context of the works in the exhibition, the history of landscape gardens and more broadly our human relationships with the surrounding environment.
Artist Helen Sear was joined by French academic Dr Laurent Châtel, Professor in British Art, Culture and Visual Studies at Lille University who specialises in 18th century English Landscape gardens as well as Gareth Evans, London-based writer, editor, film and event producer who curates Whitechapel Gallery’s Adjunct Moving Image as well as co-curates Whitstable Biennale, Porto’s Forum of the Future and Flipside Festival.
Tuesday 5th June
This seminar coincided with the exhibition ‘Cultivation: Points of Vantage’, which attempts to unearth the unique perspectives and pathways that artists have taken in responding to the world around us. Speakers included artists Mikhail Karikis, Mariele Neudecker and John Newling, all of who presented a key work in the show.
Thursday 21st February 2018
As Hestercombe moves towards becoming a Centre for Art and Landscape this seminar brought together three internationally acclaimed creatives who work with landscape. The aim of the session was to explore approaches to making, siting and exhibiting artworks in the public realm.
Clare Lilley is director of programme at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and also curates the Frieze Sculpture Park in London. She has curated shows by many of the worlds most important sculptors including Ai Wei Wei, Fiona Banner, James Turrell, Bill Viola and William Turnbull.
Tania Kovats returns to Hestercombe where she exhibited ‘Oceans’ in 2014, the first solo show at the gallery. She is renowned for producing sculptures, large-scale installations and temporal works which explore our experience and understanding of landscape. Kovats recently made ‘Bleached’ as part of Hull 2017 and distributed Dirty Water: London’s Low Tide, a tabloid newspaper she created as part of Art on the Tideway public art programme.
Alex Hartley’s work takes many forms, usually addressing utopian ideologies and our complicated, sometimes contradictory, attitudes toward built and natural environments. His practice is wide ranging, comprising wall-based sculptural photographic compositions, film-making, climbing, artist publications, architectural installations and ambitious works of land-art. Following 2012’s Cultural Olympiad commission ‘Nowhereisland’; he continues to create a considerable body of work. Last year he exhibited at both the Folkestone and Yokohama Triennials. Hartley is represented by Victoria Miro Gallery.
6th February 2018
Topographies was a one-day seminar exploring how we make sense of different landscapes, through contemporary art practice and creative geographies. Artists and researchers led a series of discussions around the remote and the connected, the mapping of invisible and imagined spaces, and how technology is changing our relationship to landscape. Invited speakers were Harriet Hawkins, art writer and professor in GeoHumanities at Royal Holloway, University of London, and John Wylie, professor in Cultural Geography at Exeter University.
14th October 2017
Hestercombe Gallery’s exhibition ‘The Dynamics of Drifting’ by Tim Knowles explored passages through land and water where human and natural designs converge. To compliment this show the artist will led a workshop to create a digital drawing for Hestercombe. This was followed by a seminar with Tim Knowles and Dr Laurent Châtel, Professor in Visual Studies at the University of Lille, France
7th June 2017
This seminar explored the themes behind the ‘Regions of Light’ exhibition at the Hestercombe Gallery. Artists Paul Desborough, Rebecca Chesney and Jem Southam will present recent developments in their own artistic practices.
27th – 29th March 2017
Dr Laurent Châtel presents a lecture on ‘The C18th English Garden’ followed by short presentations by contemporary artists Helen Sear, Jesse Alexander and Liz Nicol on approaches to working with landscape.
Senior lecturer at the Sorbonne, Paris and a Visiting Fellow at Oxford University, Dr Laurent Châtel continues his fieldwork on British gardens in view of a monograph on eighteenth-century garden history.
Jesse Alexander, photographer and writer, will discuss ‘The Nymph and the Shepherd’, a year-long residency with Bank Street Arts in Sheffield exploring amorous romance within Romantic landscape traditions.
Photographer Liz Nicol explores the common interest found collaborating with a conservationist on ‘Field Studies of the Venetian Lagoon’ – the environs of the Venetian Lagoon and in particular the salt marshes.
Artist Helen Sear, who represented Wales at the 2015 Venice Biennale, will focus on her recent commission for the Glynn Vivian in Swansea as part of the exhibition ‘The Moon and a Smile’.
7th December 2016
This event explored the possibilities for art writing today. Authors, curators and editors presented new ways of writing, thinking and publishing on the visual arts. The discussion focused on how texts can be produced, programmed and disseminated to create a knowledgeable enjoyment of contemporary art.
Speakers: Tom Jeffreys, Editor, The Learned Pig, Lizzie Lloyd, Writer published by Art Monthly, Greg Neale, Editor, Resurgence Magazine, Phil Owen, Curator, Tertulia and Arnolfini, Mary Paterson, Writer published by The Guardian, Patrick Langley, Writer published by The White Review.
The AWP is organised by The Art Writers Group and will take place in 2017 in Bristol, Cornwall and Plymouth. The project is funded by Arts Council England and run in partnership with Plymouth Culture, Made in Plymouth, Plymouth Arts Centre, Plymouth College of Art, Plymouth City Council, Arnolfini, Spike Island, St Ives Tate, Newlyn Art Gallery, CAST, Hestercombe and Visual Arts South West.
15th September 2016, 2.30 – 4pm
To coincide with her exhibition ‘Clean Heart: A Landscape Retrospective’ at Hestercombe Gallery, internationally-acclaimed artist Clare Woods held an ‘in conversation with’ event with Simon Wallis OBE, Director of The Hepworth Wakefield. This inspiring discussion included a tour of the gallery by Clare with personal commentary and insight.
11th November 2015, 5-7.30pm
In the subsequent talk Bayliss reveals his conflicting feelings about becoming a landscape painter. He discusses the limitations and freedoms of a romantic or picturesque approach to landscape, in relation to both tourist art in the South West and the landscape gardens at Hestercombe. Châtel will follow with a talk ‘In and Out of Landscape – Eighteenth-Century Virtual Reality Experiences’ which describes how tricky the notion of the ‘picturesque’ was in the eighteenth century. This is not with a pedantic academic intent at linguistic clarification, but with a view to transferring us back to eighteenth century visual and mental habits, showing how men and women at the time used and perceived the picturesque.
30th September, 2015
Featured artists Sarah Jones, Helen Sear and Mark Edwards together with curator Kate Best.
9th June 2015, 4pm – 5pm
Chris Ingram talked about his collection, chaired by curator Tim Martin.
12th February 2015, 1-4.30pm
The seminar explored the context in which artists make work and how they engage with audiences. Speakers included acclaimed British artist Alex Chinneck, known for his large scale ambitious installations, together with ‘Second Site’ exhibiting artists Jo Lathwood, Simon Hitchens, Megan Calver and Patrick Lowry.
6th November 2014
As drawing continues to grow as a primary process in art production, this seminar explores how artists use drawing techniques as a mechanism for artistic exploration.
Panel: artists Tania Kovats and Tim Knowles plus Kate Macfarlane, co-director, Drawing Room, London. Chair Tim Martin.
Thursday 10 July 2014 1-5pm
The South West hosts a high number of artists who live and work in rural areas, where participation and engagement in arts and cultural activities are significantly higher than for urban centres.
In recent years the region has lost some key rurally based organisations, and as a brand new venue; Hestercombe Gallery opens its doors for the first time to a pilot programme of contemporary art, we take a look at issues surrounding the presentation of art outside of the urban context. Why present contemporary art in rural areas? How can we ensure that rural arts practice in the SW is relevant, critical and appropriately funded? What do artists and audiences gain from making or presenting contemporary art in rural settings?
With contributions from:
Presented by Visual Arts South West and Hestercombe Gallery
Listen: hear the discussion
Read more: read the review