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Showcasing new and recent works from Paul Emmanuel, Fiona Hingston, Trish Morrissey, Susie Olczak, Alexandra Searle, Lucy Soni, Peter Stiles, Madinah Farhannah Thompson and Matt Stokes, Changing Atmospheres will feature painting in its many forms, sculpture, film, performance and sound work.

The past two years have led many of us to reconnect with our local natural environments. During this time contemporary artists have had exhibitions and commissions put on hold, which has led to uncertainty but often given time for reassessment and re-engagement. Here we present nine artists, some of whom have realised new works for Hestercombe that were initially postponed by the pandemic, others where their relationships with flora and fauna have taken on new meanings during this time.

This unique show from nine diverse artists, and the work they have produced during the past two years, will make viewers think poignantly about history and the true significance of the landscape. Changing Atmospheres invites people to consider how art and the environment allows us to forge connections with our identity, other people, our history and place in the world.

Paul Emmanuel Pink Chapel Floor Weave 2020 beulah fleece and acrylic
Image: Paul Emmanuel, Pink Chapel Floor Weave, 2020, beulah fleece and acrylic

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Highlights of the show include:

Paul Emmanuel’s sculptural fleece paintings evoke a strong sense of place. Working from his chapel studio in the Brecon Beacons, the works focus on materiality and process that are intrinsically linked to the local, pastoral landscape.

Fiona Hingston’s poignant hay sculptures of a sleeping bag and pillow are made for her friend and neighbour, one of many who died of Coronavirus. Using the hay from her friend's field, Hingston stresses the importance of keeping her methods simple, “just twist the grass”.

Trish Morrissey takes as her starting point Christopher Anstey’s An Election Ball, published in 1776 and illustrated by C.W.Bampfylde of Hestercombe, to inspire her new film Madge; an updated satirical look at Georgian Bath society from a contemporary woman’s point of view.

Susie Olczak’s Digital Projection, Waiting for the Natural to be Switched on, explores Hestercombe’s landscape garden, it's Great Cascade, through the use of framing. The filmwork is a visual journey which layers together footage of plants and water from within the gardens and intertwining materials found in Olczak’s studio and the architectural spaces she moves through.

Alexandra Searle draws on references to the mental and the medical, creating sculptures that combine the solid with the fragile and create tensions and anxieties that are often physically represented in the strain and weight of the materials themselves.

Lucy Soni's work captures the spontaneous mark making of children through a classically trained eye, creating carefully balanced ‘scribble’ or ‘doodle’ compositions. Catching COVID-19 shifted the artist's attention to the outdoors, inspired by Gertrude Jekyll’s planting, here she utilises images of plants and gardens in her large-scale wall piece.

Peter Stiles returns time and time again to the same places in Devon to create his landscape paintings. He draws parallels between the composing of pictures of nature with gardening and romanticism. Stiles assembles rocks and other features of the landscape into a rhythmic, musical flow - drawing on energies supplied by arabesques and rhythms that Gainsborough would recognise.

Matt Stokes presents a 16-channel audio installation entitled Beyond the Field. Originally made in 2019, it draws from the historical records of the Berwickshire Naturalists' Club, who made important recordings of changes to fauna and flora, or life on earth, as a consequence of the agricultural revolution of the 18th Century.

During this pandemic, three artists have been connected to residencies at Hestercombe, in partnership with the Ingram Collection. Guardian featured artist, Madinah Farhannah Thompson, examines black British people's relationship with the English countryside. Born and raised in rural Norfolk, in this debut piece, Thompson presents the first in a series of works exploring black and rural identities through film and text.

Trish Morrissey Madge 2021 film still Susie Olczak Waiting for the Natural to be Switched on 2021 Digital Projection still Peter Stiles Estate 202021 oil on canvas101 x 101cms Paul Emmanuel Pink Chapel Floor Weave 2020 beulah fleece and acrylic Madinah Farhannah Thompson Against interruptions we move 2021 HD video still Lucy Soni Portal Entangled Mass 2021 Hand cut book pages entomology pins Fiona Hingston Sleeping Bag 2021 hay

Dates & Tickets

Changing Atmospheres at Hestercombe Gallery runs from 13th November to 27th February 2022.

Entry is by gardens admission only.

Hestercombe Gallery is open daily from 11am - 5pm.


Read the full press release for Changing Atmospheres here.


The exhibition has been made possible support from Arts Council England and Somerset West and Taunton Council.

Arts Council England and SWTC lockup

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