Written by Forge

On August 2, 2023

In this exhibition, Simon Langsdale and Jane Bottery bring together letter carving, lettering, painting and drawing from the mutual wish to make meditative pieces which resonate with the viewer.  They both have an appreciation of nature writing and chose The Peregrine by J A Baker as their initial source of inspiration.

The book is set on the flat marshes of the Essex coast and focuses on Baker’s observations of the birds that share this particular environment. First published in 1967, it is considered to be one of the most important books in twentieth-century nature writing. The artists were drawn to it because of the author’s painterly and expressive way of describing the landscape – a favourite quote from the book is 

‘the hardest thing of all to see is what is really there’.

Walking the same localities Baker explored, they found the coastal area around Tollesbury resonated with their own sensibilities and interests. Over time they came to recognise that this calm and transient space with it’s ebb and flow, its juxtapositions of wildness and man-made interventions and its fleeting glimpses of history, tied in with their preferences for things on the periphery and for exploring the unusual and overlooked.

The title Hinterland came out of these walks, discussions and pauses to observe and, to the artists, means both what they could see and absorb but also what was interior, a sort of thoughtful meandering as well as a physical one. The work the artists ended up creating has gently ventured away from their original inspirations, following unexpected paths and so echoing the paths Baker took in his book. 

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