View 2012 Gallery

Fabric of the Land is all about the quest to investigate the links between the art inspired by landscape and the physical character of landscape as studied by geologists. For Fabric of the Land 2012 we invite artists to continue consideration of the broad range of landscape as their inspiration and in particular we are interested that they consider the footprints that nature leaves in the landscape.
Footprints are not only the impressions left on the Earth’s surface by ancient or long-extinct creatures but may also be grander events. Such events may have been dramatic when they occurred but are now preserved as benign features in the landscape. Sudden inundation of landscape by molten lava and tidal waves, or the re structuring of landscape by earthquakes are examples of the dramatic way in which nature can create change and preserve footprints of what preceded. Other footprints form more gradually, for example, the erosion of rock by sand carried in desert storms or the continual pounding of beaches and cliffs by waves, both of which in time transform rocky bulkheads into sand and dust. Other footprints may be microscopic fossils or crystals that formed in response to specific geological events.

exhibition dates:
25 August - 16 September 2012

opening times:
mon - fri 11.00am - 4.00pm
sat/sun 10.00am - 4.00pm

Artist in Residence 2012
Hilary Duncan

Research and Development

Over the past few months I have focussed on some of the footprints left by life in the earth’s crust, and their interpretation within the Department.

Working with clay, I have explored the marks and traces of selected footprints and produced a couple of different collections from these investigations.

Palynologist Rob Daly is currently researching pollen and spores from the Paleocene period (approx. 55 to 65 Ma). The samples he is working on are from a meteorite crater, and show the vegetation and climate response just after the Cretaceous mass extinction 65 million years ago, which is when the dinosaurs became extinct. In describing these fossil spores, Rob used his cupped hands, as though he could hold the microscopic organisms between his palms. Rob’s research, coupled with the beautiful slides of palynomorphs, has inspired my first collection of pieces, experimenting with scale, marks and colour.
In the basement of the Department is the most amazing collection of fossils, curated by Professor Nigel Trewin. I was lucky enough to make drawings of Professor Trewin’s collection of fish fossils from the Devonian period, around 380 million years ago. The fossils were collected from the flagstones of Achanarras Quarry in Caithness, which was formed as mud and sand deposited in Lake Orcadie. These beautiful specimens have inspired my second collection which includes large bowls and jugs with marks and drawings printed in layers to represent the story of these fossils.

Many thanks to all those in the Department of Geosciences who have patiently endured my questions, particularly to Andrew Hurst for giving me the opportunity of Artist in Residence for this year’s exhibition, and to Rob Daly, Anne Wilkins, Nigel Trewin, Clare Bond and Dave Healey for giving up time to share their knowledge and their enormous enthusiasm for their subject.

Hilary Duncan
September 2012

Selection Panel 2012