Art for Everyone

Artist Unknown. Alston Moor. January 2019

Art for Everyone #artforeeveryone by #helenjohnsonartist

Last week I looked at the difference between galleries in the North and the South of England. This week, having spent a week walking the fells of the North Pennines, #northpennines I will look at #landscape and landscape art. Whilst out walking one day last week, I came across the #sculpture pictured, by the side of the South Tyne River. It is beautiful, imposing and both out of kilter with its environment and yet completely at home at the same time. You can only see it if you walk along the South Tyne – it is not accessible by car and there are no labels or reasons for its being. It just is. And yet it made me stop and think. Whilst you could claim this is definitely ‘art for everyone’, you could also argue it is as exclusive and selective as the Telegraph article promoting the London galleries I discussed in last week’s blog. Unless you live in #Alston, or happen to be visiting the area, you won’t have the privilege of seeing this sculpture and will have missed a treat. It reminded me instantly of #RichardLong and his land based art works from the 1960’s onwards. Check out his website on www.richardlong.org . However, it also made me think of so much more – as all great art should do. Why there? Why at all? What was the artist thinking? What does the artist want us to think? Do they care?

There is something quite meditative about making sculptures of this kind and it is a way of making art without conflicting with the natural environment; something that most artworks cannot claim. Even if you take a visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park #YSP to see the exhibition currently there by Giuseppe Penone his interest in nature and the environment is obvious and celebratory. However, whilst using concrete blocks/ balls may be essential to the final experience, it is still essentially – using concrete!

I have been a painter who uses oil paints for the last 25 years but am currently having a crisis of conscience over doing so. How can I make work that celebrates the beauty of the landscape and the contrast between man and nature, whilst polluting the said same environment with chemicals from the process of painting? It is something I am working through at the moment and as the very best art should do - the stone sculpture has made me stop and re evaluate. Thank you to Artist Unknown.

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