7 December 2019 – 26 January 2020 PREVIEW: Friday 6 December AFTER DARK: Every Wednesday & Saturday during December & January
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Light is one of the most exciting mediums in contemporary art, and we are delighted to present a solo exhibition by one of the medium’s leading practitioners, artist Bruce Munro.
Bruce Munro has made an international reputation as a creator of land art on a monumental scale. Taking ordinary and mundane materials such as hay bales, water bottles and CDs, he invites people to look at them in a different way – through a process of repetition and ordering, his works become dramatic backdrops to mesmerising and mysterious displays that question the nature of time. Central to each work is an exploration of emotional connection and these connections tie together ideas and places of great personal significance. But it is his time spent in Australia that infuses his work most strongly. There is a contrast between England’s soft light and gentle landscape and the merciless sun and dramatic topography of the Antipodes that couldn’t be more different, but both have fuelled his work, which goes back decades and above all, explores the feelings engendered by a moment in time.
Bruce’s solo response to the barn is an audio-visual floor installation made up of thousands of overlapping CDs and DVDs. Titled C-scales it is presented as a corrugation of waves that recall the shimmering sea as well as the scales on a fish – an immersive meditation inspired by the sites and aural memory of Sydney, with its sparkling harbour and myriad panoramas. With abstract visual sequences projected on to the circular surfaces, it is also like an immersive rendition of a Monet or a Howard Hodgkin.
Bruce’s series of Time & Place artworks also includes anew series of small works on paper. Shown for the first time, these domestic-scale, wall-mounted spiral images based on 360° photos deconstructed to pixel form, are exquisite studies in colour and tone. Presented as spirals of ordered vinyl dots – each applied by hand – they adhere to a series of rules and systems of Bruce’s devising. The resulting artwork is a simpler version of the original time and place.
‘In reality it’s a painting game that allows me to go back to the beginning and start again. There’s a new result every time… I had a notion that light when it comes through camera is the true light travelling through the air at that moment, so I just wanted to use the images as building blocks for the memory.’
Outside, Moon Harvest is a field of hay bales with moons projected on to their round faces – a fond nod to the rural calendar as well as to the myth and romance associated with the phrase ‘Harvest Moon’. Temperate Zone, which references an ingenious air conditioning unit created by the indigenous Indians of the Sonoran Desert, is another work inspired by people, time and place.
This exhibition also includes a version of Bruce’s most iconic work. Moon Blooms I and Moon Blooms II are two fields of glowing stems sited amongst the grass, and a direct call to his monumental land installation Field of Light, versions of which are sited in South Korea and at numerous locations in the USA, as well as at Uluru (formerly Ayres Rock) – the epicentre of indigenous culture in Australia’s red desert. Moon Blooms adds an other-worldly dimension to this landscape, a rhizome of electrical connections and electronic pulses spreading like a web across the ground, two fields of illuminated stems that bloom to gentle rhythms of light as darkness falls.
Born in 1959 Bruce Munro lives and works in rural Wiltshire. His recent projects include: Stories in Light, Montalvo Arts Centre, California (2018-19); Field of Light, Sensorio, California (Opened May 2019), Field of Light, Uluru, Australia (recently extended indefinitely); and Jeju Light Art Festa, South Korea (extended until August 2020).