Earlier this yr, Somerset-based gallery Shut Ltd. introduced the illustration of multidisciplinary artist Simon Hitchens, acknowledged for his summary works that interrogate the pure world. On view by way of December 2, 2023, on the Somerset Rural Life Museum in Glastonbury, “Parallels: An Exhibition of Sculpture and Drawings by Simon Hitchens” highlights the artist’s current and ongoing undertaking of observing and documenting by way of inventive means parts of time, temporality, and the pure landscapes of the whole size of the British Isles. Curated by Shut Ltd.’s Inventive Director Freeny Yianni, and produced in collaboration with the South West Heritage Belief, the present traces Hitchens’s meticulous journey, together with discovering rock from numerous geological latitudes and utilizing it as a kind from which to attract idiosyncratic shadow traces.
We caught up with the artist to study extra about what went into this expansive endeavor—each creatively and virtually—and what he’s planning to work on subsequent.
Your solo present “Parallels” goes on view at Somerset Rural Life Museum in collaboration with Shut Ltd this month, are you able to inform us a bit concerning the physique of labor occurring view and the inspirations behind the present?
For 3 weeks spanning the autumn equinox of 2019, I traveled the complete top of the British Isles—from latitude 50 in Cornwall to latitude 60 in Shetland. The aim of my journey was to search out rocks from 11 totally different geological time durations and to make a durational day drawing of the shadow traces solid from every rock, on every of the 11 traces of latitude. Shadows solid from a twelfth geological object, a discarded lump of plastic, had been drawn on a landfill web site close to London. These are process-based drawings made in, of, and concerning the panorama, the results of a selected set of circumstances, in a selected place, over a selected span of time. They document celestial time, geological time, and human time in addition to the climate patterns distinctive to that day and web site: a meditation on time and area.
Are you able to speak concerning the “Noontide” shadow sculptures and the method behind them?
The twelve sculptures are casts of the noon shadows from every of the 12 geological time durations, instantly listed to every drawing and fairly actually making the fourth dimension three-dimensional. Produced from forged iron, they offer kind to the adverse, liminal area of shadows. They precisely document the haptic qualities of the earth’s geology at a selected time and site, linking us to the previous by way of the current and connecting us to one thing bigger than ourselves. To make these sculptures I went by way of seven totally different processes of casting constructive and adverse molds from the unique object, each enabling me to get a step nearer to realizing an correct document of an precise but ephemeral phenomena of a shadow. It took me months to work out methods to obtain it.
What initially drew your curiosity to geology and extra particularly the Somerset locale as a serious theme in your works?
Rock has all the time fascinated me. I first began to climb it in my teenagers, however then, at artwork college, turned conscious that it was the prime sculpting materials all through the world over millennia. Within the ’90s, I solely carved stone to make more and more minimal sculpture, and it has continued to be the conceptual focus of my work and usually the fabric spine inside it. While I stay in Somerset, I work and exhibit throughout the nation. The primary explorations into these durational day drawings had been made near my studio in Somerset, earlier than the journey throughout the U.Okay. that turned “Parallels.” A movie was commissioned for this exhibition, of me making a drawing on the Summit of Somerset, Dunkery Beacon on Exmoor, and I will likely be making a durational day drawing on Glastonbury Tor this equinox. I suppose it’s a matter of expediency, the placement the place I stay.
What are a few of the key takeaways you hope guests of the exhibition have?
The work explores time and transience and the interconnected nature of what we share with the world. I hope that, by way of the beguiling drawings and sculptures, the viewers’s curiosity and inquisitiveness begin considering alongside the traces of: What is that this? How and why was it made? What’s the artist’s intention? I consider the movie goes some strategy to generously revealing the processes of constructing these drawings and thru that, provides to the viewers’s fascination. The printed guide of the undertaking, titled Parallels, reveals an excellent better depth of intention and course of, which I consider solely provides to my exploration of time and transience.
How would you describe your artistic course of, is it extra spontaneous or do you propose all the pieces out?
Each. The genesis was a typical fleeting second of artistic thought, 4 years in the past. That nugget gnawed away at me each day; I fed it, nurtured it, explored, and challenged it till it turned a undertaking to unfold throughout the U.Okay. There was in-depth planning for weeks beforehand: researching OS maps, geological maps, and Google maps. I wanted to meticulously plan my drawing equipment, as all the pieces—drawing desk, paper, garments for all weathers, food and drinks to maintain me over fourteen hours—wanted to be carried in a rucksack. I researched the precise websites for clear views of the rising and setting solar. Even now I’m beginning to plan for a day’s drawing in a few days’ time, as a result of as soon as I’m on web site and the solar has risen, I’m glued to the spot, relentlessly drawing till the solar disappears—there’s completely no alternative to take a break at will. However the genesis of every drawing, the choice to make one, or certainly a sculpture, is all the time rather more fluid and spontaneous.
Who or what do you assume has had the best affect in your work? Are there any artists or actions, historic or up to date, that you just return to for inspiration?
Undeniably, panorama is the best affect in my work: bodily, emotionally, conceptually, and traditionally it’s an limitless supply of inspiration and help to me. I grew up surrounded by my father’s and grandfather’s oil work of landscapes—I can odor the heady aroma of turpentine now. I’ve been climbing hills and mountains since I used to be a toddler and these uncooked, pure experiences of the world all the time maintain me. I proceed to be impressed by Twentieth- and Twenty first-century artists who work with land and scape in indirect methods. Artists who discover human’s relationship with the world and whose work has humility of strategy but an expansive attain of imaginative and prescient. Artists who problem me as a human being.
Are there any tasks you might be engaged on now, or planning to work on subsequent, that you would be able to inform us about?
I’m presently making work for an exhibition at Hestercombe Gallery, “Landscapes of Progress?” which opens in November. This expands the theme of time and transience by making a site-specific drawing and three integral sculptures. I’m having fun with considering by way of how finest to current this work, in order that it’s seen as one work, made up of 4 particular person items. I’m additionally engaged on a monumental sculpture in Northumberland known as The Elizabeth Landmark. This 55-meter-tall sculpture has planning permission and we’re about to go stay with a fundraising marketing campaign. I’ve been engaged on this for six years now, with a devoted and each rising group of consultants who’re laser-focused on pulling it off.
“Parallels: An Exhibition of Sculpture and Drawings by Simon Hitchens” is on view at Somerset Rural Life Museum, Glastonbury, by way of December 2, 2023.
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