Image: Lee Gilby Photography

PROJECT: Far & Near – Expressions of Continual Bonds to Absent Others

In October 2016 I was awarded funds from the Arts Council Grants for the Arts Programme to develop an interdisciplinary body of work in collaboration with the composer David Power. Far & Near, as the project became, was also collaboration with audience, who were invited to contribute memories of loved ones; many of these turned out to relate to specific places, which varied depending on where the work was installed, as well as expressing love and loss in many very personal words.

The project was inspired by the phenomenon of the secular memorial – most commonly seen in Britain in the form of memorial benches and plaques on benches in places of relevance to those who felt connected to each other and the landscape.

Avril Maddrell writes: Practices associated with absence-presence intersect with growing trends to mark private grief and remembrance of individuals in public space, through the creation of a range of informal memorials that frame a ‘Third Emotional Space’ for the bereaved. The material memorialscape is indicative of the interwoven narrative journeys in and through particular place-temporalities for the living, for whom bereavement is a confluence of emotional-spiritual-practical way-finding.

Living with the deceased: absence, presence and absence-presence, 2013 (Cultural Geographies)

The first exhibition:
Never Ends: art, music, text

An exciting opportunity to see work by renowned landscape artists on loan from the Arts Council Collection alongside work by artists deeply engaged with the landscapes of North and Northeast Lincolnshire. Never Ends is a consideration of the ways in which personal, industrial and recreational memories linger in place. In their series, Far & Near Linda Ingham and David Power explore our Expressions of Continual Bonds to Absent Others from their studies of memorial benches. The work is participatory, including a bespoke bench which will be dressed by contributed memorials, and includes film, music and visual art. In Outfalls Harriet Tarlo and Judith Tucker present poems and drawings from their collaborative work on the Louth Navigation. They are interested in the relationship between the original River Ludd and the canal itself as its industrial past becomes absorbed into semi-wilderness, creating niches for local flora and fauna in its culverts, bridges and locks. We are honoured to present alongside this work pieces by Andy Goldsworthy; Richard Long; Martin Parr; Jane Harris; Brian Alterio; Birgit Skiold and Hamish Fulton.

11th March – 11th June 2017
Muriel Barker Gallery, Fishing Heritage Centre, Grimsby, DN31 1UZ

Some 300+ contributions have been gathered between 2016 – 2018, during the main project activity, when Far & Near was exhibited in The Muriel Barker Gallery (in the Fishing Heritage Centre, Grimsby), Leeds University School of Design, and The Ropewalk Contemporary Arts & Crafts Centre, North Lincolnshire and the project website shows some of these.

The 2017 exhibition also included a programme of events, including a seminar, talks, and workshops. The Never Ends catalogue can be downloaded here