GroundWork's main aim is to connect art and environment in the belief that art can help us to see the environment differently, in new ways, and in greater detail. The greater attentiveness that we learn through art can help us to understand the environment better. Understanding leads to more sensitivity in the way the environment is managed. And a detailed understanding of environment leads to more inspiration for artists and greater power for them to inspire us, the viewing public, to see things more clearly and to respond with thoughtfulness and action.
Example of aims in practice : looking at stone and environment
‘Over Millennia we have shaped stone: chipped, cut, split, crushed – turned hillsides into quarries – turned strata into streets. Like many other towns this process is the foundation of Macclesfield. The pink and blue-ish Gritstone of Tegg’s Nose has been quarried for hundreds of years…..’
Mario Popham and Tom Baskeyfield's project has produced new interpretations both of a landscape and the town which has borne fruit through the new works of art which have been inspired by this landscape.
Tom Baskeyfield's series of graphite images of stone setts of the roads and pavements of Macclesfield have transformed them into beautiful images in the much more delicate medium of relief paper, glinting with detail and preciousness in the changing light of the gallery.
In King's Lynn this series of exhibits, bringing into focus the stones of the landscape, is inspiring us to look afresh with a contemporary audience at the stony historical environment, newly interesting and relevant, and maybe not as robust and enduring as we might have thought.
How do we know when the aims have been achieved?
There is no finishing line, however, there are many ways we might know when certain aims have been achieved.
Above all, we look for a change - change in thinking and interpretation of the environment, improvement in understanding, recognition of its beauty, seeing its detail, being alert to its fragility, its dangers.The study and creation of art is never predictable and therefore it is all the more likely that results will be unexpected, surprising, unusual.
Looking at what artists do and make, their work often makes us look more carefully, to question our previous thoughts or decisions, to highlight problems. Art and artists can help us to be more observant, to see the world carefully. Artists recognise change and help us to prepare for it. They know how to take risks, to find the images, materials, and the means to bring out big issues of concern, so we can all think more carefully about dangers we face. Beauty is not always obvious and art can help us to see it in unusual ways and places.
Each exhibition aims to develop a new strand of interest in the environment and to stimulate related activity and events, timely in an era when we need to be increasingly wary of all kinds of threats from pollution, species loss, deforestation and climate change.