Every time I walk into the Peter Scott Gallery, it feels like a completely different atmosphere within the same few square meters. In this case, the artist’s filled the gallery with new pieces of media and presentation at every angle. The latest exhibition presents five artists whose work connects with travel, finding our way and routes through places and history. As a part of the pathways theme at Lancaster Arts this season, each section of the room told a different story.
Kathy Hinde’s contribution centred around her ongoing project called Twitchr, an online sound mapping birdsong and an offline series of bird listening walks. By combining both the project’s online and offline elements, this section exhibited both their website and an encased space of bird boxes playing various bird songs in a recreation of a birdsong walk. I enjoyed the immersive and calming experience of this section; it was less dynamic and more reflective in an artificially natural space.
The first piece to grab your attention is Hannah Catherine Jones’ Owed to White Noise, a large screen glitching with various online images. It described as the impossible quest for knowledge of “black” history, and its fragmented images exhibit this point well as the communication of a particular narrative or statement is difficult to follow.
Into The Mountain by Simone Kenyon was a highlight of this exhibition for me, drawing its inspiration from the beautiful Nan Shepard book The Living Mountain. While looking to celebrate women’s relationship with wild places, with such a vast landscape and broad idea to play with, I found the simplicity of these images and films to be its most entrancing quality. The mixture of photographs, film and poetry from a sketchbook offered an impressive unity to otherwise individual experiences.
Presenting two pieces, Jen Southern offered a very different approach in looking at movement and Landscapes, engaging with technology in a new way to some of the other collaborators. Unruly Pitch offered a digital map of a mass-football game, played without rules and the whole of Workington as its pitch. The patterns on the page tracking each the players offered a very methodical, two dimensional way to look at a landscape, brought to life with the surrounding recording from the group as they ran through the town to play their match. Unstoppable Landscapes, her second piece, mapped the instability of landscapes admits Brexit chaos. I personally liked the dogs eye-view that neatly demonstrated a bouncing scene in flux and out of control from its owners. I thought these pieces offered an intelligible approach to looking at technology and mapping, but I didn’t get the same emotional reaction I did to Kenyon and Wilson’s pieces.
Saving the best until last, Lousie Ann Wilson’s Dorothy’s Room was stunning. This installation piece inspired by Dorothy Wordsworth as she became bed-bound late in her life, it mixes the quiet tranquillity of the private space with the external natural world pouring in behind with waterfalls and hills projected on the wall. Bringing the imagination of an under-celebrated poet to life, followed by poetry from various modern female poets, it was a beautiful and immersive finish to my tour around the gallery.
This wide variety of artists mean there’s something for everyone in this exhibition. None of these pieces will stay with me as my favourite artwork of all time, but I have to appreciate the innovation and experimentation as well as just enjoying the quiet half hour I experienced in the gallery.