Sheffield Millennium Gallery: Monday 28 January 2013
This was a really interesting and stimulating show covering a range of artists, periods and art forms. I was impressed by the use of gallery text that gave some insights into Ruskin's ethos and views. However I was disappointed that this was not fully supported by their website that contained little of the gallery text, only a few examples of the works and did not give a full list of the works in the show. Although it is good that there is now a link to download Jacqueline Yallop's accompanying Force of Nature essay; this was also available in the gallery but it is good to be able to study it further away from the gallery.
One particular text that stood out and seems to resonate with my current research and practice was:
Seeing the Landscape: All great art praise
For Ruskin, understanding the landscape through art was a form of religious celebration
This seemed to link so strongly with my research interests and current practice that I am investing some time in researching Ruskin and his writings.
The highlights of the show for me included:
David Nash Wooden Boulder 2004 film
[the audio was disconcerting, so much so that my companion found it difficult to view the video for any more than a few seconds; this seems somewhat counter productive, surely it is not advisable to make a work too uncomfortable so that viewers do not fully engage with it]
It was interesting to note from the gallery text that: "Unlike Ruskin, Maskell believed that photographs could be considered art." [It was disappointing to find that Ruskin did not recognise photography as a valid art form.]George Davison Reflections, Weston-on-the-Green 1899 photogravure print
Again the gallery text was worth noting: "Like Maskell, Davison was a founder member of the Brotherhood of the linked ring. Critics applauded him as one of the first impressionist photographers ..."