Fresh look at landscapes

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A JOINT exhibition of photos by Joe Cornish and paintings by Kane Cunningham opens at Scarborough Art Gallery on Saturday.

Landscape Revisited is boldly heralded by the gallery as “a new concept in the study of the landscape and art”.

Joe and Kane were invited by exhibition curator Jan Bee Brown to seek inspiration from the gallery’s large collection of paintings.

“The collaboration has been unique and builds on the success of past home-grown exhibitions whilst literally breaking new ground,” Jane says.

The aim is to stimulate a debate on the English landscape and encourage a reappraisal of landscape as a legitimate subject for contemporary fine art practice.

The artists worked together and separately for two years in response to the paintings and the landscape as a subject that has multiple narratives and rich layers of meaning, context and social history.

They spend hours in the landscape, in all weathers and seasons, so are eyewitnesses to countryside events as they unfold. Responding to the landscape in real time, they aim to capture in the flick of a brush or the press of a button those fleeting moments that are ephemeral and transient.

Kane says: “Working with Joe has been an inspiration, particularly when out in the landscape. We would work independently in the same location then talk about each others’ approach and intentions. It started as a gentle critique but soon evolved into deeper philosophical debate about the relationship and overlapping territory between photography and painting. It quickly emerged that we were concerned about the same issues but expressed them in different ways.”

The exhibition presents a compelling case for landscape as a significant genre and creative subject matter.

It offers the viewer an opportunity to engage in the debate over photography as art and the subject of landscape as being relevant and meaningful in our digital and multimedia world.

Joe says: “Photography and painting have never been easy bedfellows, and that tension has stimulated and informed quite a bit of the work that Kane and I have done in this period.

“I have found it really interesting to work in collaboration with a painter. The language we use, both aesthetically and in our conversations, has been compatible, yet our methods, and the results, have been very different. Kane’s terrific energy and enthusiasm have driven the project, but I have contributed in my own way. Without doubt this is the most unusual and challenging exhibition project I have undertaken.”

The exhibition is sponsored by Raven Hall Hotel.