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Richard Long returns to Devon to rethink the relationship between art and the land

a photo of a line running through a field

Richard Long, A Line Made by Walking 1967, ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d’Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and Art Fund 200 © Richard Long, DACS, London 2019 Photo © Tate

Richard Long’s art returns to the land that inspired him courtesy of a major retrospective at the Thelma Hulbert in Honiton

For more than 50 years, Richard Long has been at the forefront of conceptual art, working beyond the confines of traditional material and questioning how we view the relationship between landscapes and art.

His investigations into nature, using mediums such as walking and working with found materials such as mud, earth and slate, remain as relevant today as they ever were.

This relationship between man and the natural world will be explored in an exhibition at the Thelma Hulbert in Honiton, East Devon drawing from the ARTIST ROOMS collection with works spanning 40 years of Long’s artistic practice, starting with his early experiments near his hometown of Bristol.

Long has a particular empathy with the South West where he is from, with Devon in particular proving a constant source of inspiration. A Hundred Mile Walk (1971-2), included in the exhibition here, records a walk Long made on Dartmoor during New Year 1971–2, repeatedly following a circular route, documenting sounds both heard and remembered.

a photo of a spiral of thumb prints

Richard Long, River Avon Mud Fingerprints Spiral 2006. National Galleries of Scotland. Acquired 2007 © Richard Long, DACS, London 2019 Photo © National Galleries of Scotland, courtesy Antonia Reeve

a photo of a framed ppice of text describing walking through clouds in the hills

Richard Long, In the Cloud 1991. ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d’Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and Art Fund 2008 © Richard Long, DACS, London 2019. Photo © Tate

a photo of an arid landscape with circle shape in the foreground

Richard Long, Circle in Africa 1978 ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Lent by Anthony d’Offay 2010. © Richard Long, DACS, London 2019. Photo © Tate

The famous artwork is just one of the 21 works on show, presenting the full breadth of Long’s practice, including photography, sculpture, text, drawings, maps and diagrams.

Long’s approach to his artistic practice is very much about the relationship between people and nature, from collecting mud from his local River Avon and Delabole slate from Cornwall, to the way the work is made, positioning stone using his hands or making gestures with his feet.

He explains: “you could say that my work is … a balance between the patterns of nature and the formalism of human, abstract ideas like lines and circles. It is where my human characteristics meet the natural forces and patterns of the world, and that is really the kind of subject of my work”.

It is therefore fitting that the exhibition launches Culture and Climate 2020, a programme of exhibitions, symposiums and events that are set against the context of Thelma Hulbert and East Devon District Council’s commitment to Devon’s Climate Change Emergency declaration, and the University of Exeter’s declaration of an environment and climate emergency.

an artwork print of dark shapes in a long oblong

Richard Long, 60 Minute Walk 1990 ARTIST ROOMS. National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Lent by Anthony d’Offay 2010. © Richard Long, DACS, London 2019 Photo © Tate

a photo of a circle made up of separate pieces of wood

Richard Long, South Bank Circle, 1991 Tate. Presented by Janet Wolfson de Botton 1996 © Richard Long, DACS, London 2019. Photo © Tate

an artwork print of dark shapes in a long oblong

Richard Long, Black Hand Dust Line 1990 ARTIST ROOMS. National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Lent by Anthony d’Offay 2010 © Richard Long, DACS, London 2019 Photo © Tate

“How we want to share our habitat and its resources, now and in the future, is the central question of our Culture and Climate 2020 programme,” says Thelma Hulbert Gallery Curator and Manager Ruth Gooding.

“This exhibition is an invitation to rethink the relationship between art and the rural and how we connect to and understand space. Thelma Hulbert Gallery is uniquely situated, nestled between two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and only 9 miles from the World Heritage Jurassic Coast.

“Walking is a very popular pursuit in the area and we hope this exhibition will inspire audiences to rethink walking as not just a journey from a to b, but as an art form in itself.”

The exhibition takes its title from the work Being in the Moment (1999). This portfolio of four photographs will be shown for the first time as part of the ARTIST ROOMS programme. The work illustrates not only the continuity in Long’s methods and practice but also his deep affinity with landscapes across the world by representing some of his epic walks across Britain, Tanzania and Ecuador over a thirty year period.

a photo of a circle in a desert-like setting

Richard Long, Silence Circle Big Bend Texas, 1990 Tate. Purchased with assistance from the American Fund for the Tate Gallery, courtesy of Edwin C. Cohen and General Atlantic Partners 1991 © Richard Long, DACS, London 2019. Photo © Tate

Delivered through a new partnership with Arts and Culture University of Exeter and East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, audiences will be invited to participate in a range of activities taking place at the University, Thelma Hulbert Gallery and diverse locations across East Devon.

ARTIST ROOMS Richard Long – Being in the Moment is at the Thelma Hulbert in Honiton, East Devon from February 22 until May 23, 2020.

venue

Thelma Hulbert Gallery

Honiton, Devon

THG is an award-winning public art gallery based in Honiton, Devon. It occupies an attractive, Grade II listed, Georgian town house, formerly the home and studio of the artist Thelma Hulbert. The gallery hosts contemporary art exhibitions showcasing South West artists and national touring exhibitions. It also houses a permanent…

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