A Green and Pleasant Land

30 September 2017 - 21 January 2018

British Landscape and the Imagination: 1970s to Now

An Arts Council Collection National Partner Exhibition

This major survey exhibition focuses on artists who have shaped our understanding of the British landscape and its relationship to identity, place and time. Exploring how artists interpret urban and rural landscape through the lens of their own cultural, political or spiritual ideologies, the exhibition reveals the inherent tensions between landscape represented as a transcendental or spiritual place, and one rooted in social and political histories.

Though primarily photography, A Green and Pleasant Land includes film, painting and sculpture by over 50 artists, illustrating the various concerns and approaches to landscape pursued by artists from the 1970s to now.

 

Artists included in the exhibition: Keith Arnatt, Gerry Badger, Craig Barker, John Blakemore, Henry Bond and Liam Gillick, Paul Caponigro, Thomas Joshua Cooper, John Davies, Susan Derges, Mark Edwards, Anna Fox, Melanie Friend, Hamish Fulton, Fay Godwin, Andy Goldsworthy, Paul Graham, Mishka Henner, Paul Hill, Robert Judges, Angela Kelly, Chris Killip, John Kippin, Karen Knorr, Ian Macdonald, Ron McCormick, Mary McIntyre, Peter Mitchell, Raymond Moore, John Myers, Martin Parr, Mike Perry, Ingrid Pollard, Mark Power, Paul Reas, Emily Richardson, Ben Rivers, Simon Roberts, Paul Seawright, Andy Sewell, Theo Simpson, Graham Smith, Jem Southam, Jo Spence, John Stezaker, Paddy Summerfield, The Caravan Gallery, Chris Wainwright, Patrick Ward, Clare Woods and Donovan Wylie.

 

Venue: Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne

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Arts Council Collection: A Green and Pleasant Land

Artist of the Month: Keith Arnatt

In our latest Artist of the Month profile, Curator Brian Cass, Head of Exhibitions at Towner Art Gallery, focuses on the work of Keith Arnatt, whose work features in A Green and Pleasant Land.

Keith Arnatt was one of Britain's leading conceptual artists and a key figure in the history of British photography. He used photography initially to document his work which often took the form of complex physically realized actions. In later series, however, such as his Pictures from a Rubbish Tip 1988–9, the photographs themselves become the artwork.

Pictures from a Rubbish Tip is a body of work devoted to images of decomposed food that had been dumped at a local tip a short walk from his home. In this series he used the medium of photography with the sensibility of a painter, turned to vivid colour in order to monumentalise the discarded food that lie on clear and pale-coloured plastic bags. Photographed in warm afternoon light, and employing an extremely shallow depth of field, the images make us consider the difference between knowing something and seeing something.

Their emphasis on beauty and decay is both a critique of the disposable dross that mars the countryside, while also being a nod to the sublime and the romantic paintings of Samuel Palmer and JMW Turner. Arnatt plays with our preconceptions about what the countryside means to us. His eye for a strong picture seduces the viewer into an appreciation of a scene that would otherwise be considered ugly and, in experience a pleasure from looking at his work, we are drawn into his bitterly comic world view.

Brian Cass

Head of Exhibitions Towner

Image: Untitled (from the 'Pictures from a Rubbish Tip' series). 1989. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © Keith Arnatt Estate. All rights reserved. DACS 2015

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The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

With nearly 8,000 works by over 2,000 artists, it can be seen in exhibitions and public displays across the country and beyondThis website offers unprecedented access to the Collection, and information about each work can be found on this site.