Contemporary and Country

A Fine Balance

This will be our fourth pop-up exhibition of art and handmade objects by artists and makers from East Anglia held in The Stables at Houghton Hall. The exhibition will feature recent work by more than 40 artists and makers who explore narratives that reference our landscape, the creatures that share it, natural materials and processes, and how mankind’s activities affect and influence it. The fine balance these artists seek is often a moment, or a tipping point that brings attention to an aspect of our surroundings that has been overlooked or undervalued.

The situation we now find ourselves in collectively, as the Covid-19 epidemic runs its devastating course, means that our relationship with ‘the great outdoors’ has probably changed forever. The artists and makers we have included in the exhibition are ahead of the curve, creating memorable images that will chime with the public, post lockdown. During the last four months we have all had to become aware of our vulnerability to forces we mistakenly assumed we had mastered. We respond viscerally to a favourite view or landscape, much as we would if our home or family were under threat. The exhibition holds up a mirror to what we perceive, or have hidden, in the complex confluence between the sustainable and natural, the artificial and man-made.

Some of the artists and makers have chosen to look at a highly maintained version of the countryside and our place within it. Others employ sustainable materials to create pleasing pieces intended to be handled and used every day. Others look into the natural phenomena and practical activities that are frequently personal to us in terms of our physical impact on the planet whether through recycling and re-assigning waste to new purposes. While others explore areas that are not quite urban or rural, but like much of modern Britain, somewhere in-between.

The exhibition is open from Sunday 1 July to 1 November, to coincide with the same opening times as the Anish Kapoor sculpture exhibition held throughout the gardens and park at Houghton Hall. Check the Houghton Hall website to see opening times and to book tickets for entry onto the estate. https://www.houghtonhall.com/book-tickets/

The title comes from Rohinton Mistry’s novel A Fine Balance, published in 1996. The book was set in 1975 and traces the lives of four main characters whose interconnected lives are heavily impacted by their circumstances in a fictional Indian city, as they slip between a succession of karmic banana skins and chance encounters during the course of the narrative. Mistry’s powerful story exposes familiar fault lines within the values of a society where the characters lives are in jeopardy, brought about by familial conventions, community pressure, institutional injustice, socio-economic forces and political self-interest and convenience.

Thanks to Lord and Lady Cholmondeley for their generosity and vision in providing such a beautiful exhibition space.

ABOUT CONTEMPORARY AND COUNTRY

Contemporary and Country (C&C) present contemporary art and the handmade by established artists and makers based in the East of England in pop-up exhibitions at non-gallery spaces that celebrate our rural surroundings. The artists and makers we display live and work in rural locations, or include the natural world in their subject matter or production process. Together they bring about a closer understanding of the countryside, its people and landscape. They look creatively beyond the passing trend and encourage greater consideration for nature, as its appreciation and preservation becomes ever more prescient to our time.

www.contemporaryandcountry.com

EXHIBITORS

ARTISTS

Zarya Austin-Fell
Debby Besford
Lorraine Bewick
Katarzyna Coleman
Polly Cruse
Ferenc Cseh
Will Cutts
Amanda Edgcombe
Judith Ellis
Kate Giles
Gareth Hacon
Ruth Howes
Linda Jamieson
Suzi Joel
Liz McGowan
Pandora Mond
Verity Newman
Natalie Odile Lang
Maria Pavledis
Tracey Ross
Colin Self
Tim Simmons
Liz Taunt
Molly Thomson
Maryrose Watson
Paul Wolterink
Peter Wylie

 

SCULPTORS

Keron Beattie
Jonathan Clarke
Mark Croxford
Dan David
Roger Hardy
Bridget Heriz
Andrew Jones
Rachael Long
Ben Pusey
Telfer Stokes

 

HOMEWARE

Carolyn Brookes-Davies
Heather Connor
Steve Gore Rowe
Laura Huston
Suzi Joel
Blott Kerr-Wilson
Sue Kirk
Katharina Klug
Tim Plunkett
Amanda Sutton
Toby Winteringham