An Exhibition at Kirkleatham Museum, Redcar and Saltburn School, Marske Road – on show until 19th April 2013
In September 2012, visual artists Bethan Lloyd Worthington & Sarah Riseborough became artists in residence at the Street House Excavation site in Loftus. Over the years since 2004, archaeologists working at this spectacular site have revealed traces of human activity from the Neolithic period (c 3,000 BC) to the Anglo-Saxon period (700AD) including unique Royal Anglo Saxon finds of international importance, now on show here at Kirkleatham Museum. Bethan and Sarah spent time at the dig with the team, observing the long and meticulous process of uncovering and recording the finds whilst exploring the landscape and imaging its history. The artists took this wealth of information to inform new art work which is exhibited for the very first time across two sites at Kirkleatham Museum and Saltburn School. This exhibition considers how contemporary art and visual language can play a part in interpreting the process of discovery at the site, the extraordinary ancient finds and our history.
At Kirkleatham Museum you can see prints, drawings and text by the artists which sit alongside the finds from the Street House Excavations in the Saxon Princess Exhibition. At Saltburn School, a larger collection of drawings, photography and installation coincide with the launch of Saltburn School’s new Class 1 Project Space
Bethan’s work for The Reveal is an investigation of the small, defined, but interconnected dig territory in terms of human and geological time. Bethan spent two and a half weeks with archaeologists and volunteers, walking in from Staithes most days. Her artworks record specific details within and around the Street House site - Heather re-colonising the alum mines and cliff tops; An incongruous boulder; A cut in the ground, proof of Romans; A tree, near a spring, where there was a farm, on former borderland, where gallows swung upon a tumulus. The light passing, the wind rocking the portakabin. It’s an attempt to communicate the experience of spending time with people who point at things that aren’t there and talk about them as though they are. The physical and memorial platelets that layer up to make what we see, when we see somewhere.
Sarah’s installation is about the relationship between object, trace and space as communicating elements. The piece references the dig site via a map of the site, imposed upon the exhibition space and then realised using materials linked to the recent renovations of the gallery space. Wall plugs, screws, cable tidies, express something of the idea of a relationship between the space one presents in, and the material presented as a creative space within which something happens. A combination of ‘facts’ about the dig (in this case, scale representation of the dimensions of some of the dig site) and working with intuition create something suggested by what is already there. Like the dig, the area becomes subject to potential, to change because the information changes as each new discovery is made. The installation becomes a living site and the artist and audience become archaeologists seeking discoveries.
Background to the Exhibition:
The residency for Bethan and Sarah was the result of a Factory Night event delivered by rednile in partnership with Redcar and Cleveland Council. The event, in September 2011, took a group of artists to Skinningrove and nearby Loftus, in Redcar and Cleveland to discover the fascinating history of the area. The tour was led by Dr Stephen Sherlock who took the group to visit the internationally important Royal Anglo Saxon Burial Site at Street House, Loftus and explained to the group the major finds he discovered there with his team. The artists were able to draw on this rich history to inspire their practice and questions surrounding the role art could play in representing an areas heritage.
Bethan Lloyd Worthington was born in 1982 and grew up in Cheshire, UK. She graduated in MA Ceramics and Glass at the Royal College of Art in 2010 following a BA at Manchester Metropolitan University. Selected group shows include: Paper Thin, Bearspace, London (2013); Appropriate Response, Vulpes Vulpes, London (2012); Jerwood Drawing Prize (2011). Living and working in Hackney, London, Bethan creates drawings, objects and installation. Material qualities and sense of place are important and her work often references literary or historic detail. “We were standing around the ring ditch and Stephen casually said, “This’ll all be covered over by Tuesday, never to be seen again.” I was struck by the strangeness of this, and the burden it creates.” www.bethanlloydworthington.com
Sarah Riseborough recently graduated from MA Fine Art at Northumbria University and is currently the graduate fellow for the subsequent study year. Sarah’s work has recently been shown as part of The Departure Lounge exhibition ‘New Curators North East’ and organised ‘Momentum,’ the MA graduate show at Blackhall Studios, London curated by Prof. Helen Baker. ‘Archaeology, the thought of the hidden world beneath our feet…These places keep the echoes of voices and the shadows cast on the ground. I think we yearn for a connection with our past that nourishes us, this connection that gives us our roots. I make work that is transient, impermanent or alludes to movement and believe that the seemingly mundane can offer us contact with the non-ordinary, with the intangible… ‘
Exhibition presented: By rednile projects | www.rednile.org as part of their Factory Nights programme. With thanks to Arts Council England and Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, Dr Stephen Sherlock, Kirkleatham Museum & Class 1 Project Space at Saltburn School.
Exhibition continues: At both venues until Friday 19th April 2013.
Kirkleatham Museum: Kirkleatham Lane, Redcar, TS10 5NW. Open Tues- Sun 10am-4pm
Saltburn School: Marske Mill Lane, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, TS12 1HJ. Open Mon-Fri by appointment & Weekends 10-4pm – contact firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an appointment outside opening hours…