Exhibitions at GroundWork
11 March - 1 July 2017
on the stony path
herman de vries
The first exhibition in the UK of the work of herman de vries occupies the spring season at GroundWork gallery, King’s Lynn. herman de vries, now aged 85 is a grand figure in the world of art and environment, renowned for his sensitive attention to nature. This exhibition is all about stones and earth, presenting the artist’s assemblages of the world’s natural resources. Remarkably varied soil samples from the Seychelles Islands and the Jura Mountains become rubbed drawings, revealing the range of colours which are otherwise hidden beneath the undergrowth. A framed lapidarium on the wall transforms what began as a seemingly random collection of the world’s pebbles into a little display of wondrous order and variety. A floor installation of precisely cut stones from the Steigerwald becomes a museum for a landscape which has since disappeared, lost to development. The exhibition includes his life’s work, the comprehensive ‘earth museum catalogue’, recently privately published and for sale as a limited edition.
herman de vries is a poet both with words and images. He began as a scientist and has retained some of the attitudes from that profession: an investigative attitude to the world, an attention to experiment and clarity of presentation. He was a member of the zero group in the 1960s, originally making pure white works with measured geometry and precision.
In 2015, herman de vries was the artist representing the Netherlands in the national pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Since then he has exhibited in France, Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic, and continues with major exhibitions for 2017 at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Castilla y Leon in Spain, at Ludwig Gallery Oberhausen, Labs Gallery Bologna. In spite of the artist’s growing fame, he retains a modesty which makes him adamant that his name should always be spelt in the lower case. www.hermandevries.org
The Great Ouse River Drawing
herman de vries’s exhibition takes its place alongside what has become the gallery’s signature work, Richard Long’s Great Ouse Mud Drawing, which he made in situ for its opening in 2015. The works are very different, but they complement each other very well in that both artists are making direct use of a natural material.
This is an edited extract from a film made by James Murray-White of a talk Richard Long gave about his work to a group of artists in King's Lynn in 2016 during 'Sunlight and Gravity'.
Upstairs at GroundWork...
The Meandering Eye
The Meandering Eye is film recorded on Kökar, an island in the very east of the Åland archipelago. Here the artist stayed in residence for summer 2015 at The Åland Archipelago Guest Artist Residence in Kökar, which was created in 1977 to give opportunities for artists to find inspiration from nature and develop new work.
The shoreline of the island is made of Gneiss, a metamorphic rock, typically coarse-grained and consisting mainly of feldspar, quartz, and mica. Sibylle became completely transfixed by its remarkable surfaces and in her film the stone appears like a painting as she dwells on it in exquisite and sharp detail, revealing every variation of colour and texture. www.sibsite.eu
Shaped by Stone
Tom Randall Baskeyfield and Mario Popham
The artists share an interest in the interconnection of people, place, nature and landscape, and Shaped by Stone was their project devised for the theme of ‘Space’ for the Barnaby Festival, a cultural festival in Macclesfield, Cheshire. An ecological, place based project, it explores the relationship between an abandoned hillside quarry called Tegg’s Nose (now a country park) and the evidence of its stone in the footpaths, walls and roads of Macclesfield Town Centre, through the use of large format photography, drawing – rubbings / embossings – walking, writing and dialogue.