Love this place has been up for a couple of weeks now and is going well. Around 50 people came to either the opening or the gallery talk and some people have travelled from afar to drop in. It has been wonderful to know that visitors enjoy and connect with my work, especially since the conceptual elements I want to convey are so personal- physical and emotional connnection to place, family and friendship, appreciation of nature and landscape, the female ‘line’ and female experience.
I put together a guide to the show, reproduced below:
Love This Place- gallery guide
The image above is from St Nicholas (Gosforth Parish Church). It is a photograph of a small banner I placed at the edge of the graveyard there, on the last day of my 140-mile solo walk from Leeds- one of 14 such banners placed along my route each day of the walk.
My family has its roots in Newcastle, my mum and I grew up here, and both now live in Leeds. My daughter grew up in Leeds and now lives in Newcastle with her family including her daughter. This ‘matri-line’ (we are in a line of six generations of women named Eleanor) was the inspiration for this show, celebrating women, mothers, family, belonging and love of place.
Here we four are, on stones:
My family moved from Gosforth to Leeds when I was 12 and part of me has never recovered! I remain nostalgically attached to the North East and return regularly for holidays and visits to friends and family up here.
So when I was coming up to retirement and followed my dream to study art, it was not surprising that my art practice focussed on my connection to the North East. I attended Leeds College of Art from 2012-16, culminating in an MA in Creative Practice. The work in this show tells the story of my developing art practice- evolved through exploration of place, finding ways to re-present experience and express emotional connection. This guide is a walk-through of the show explaining concept and media to support audience engagement. Much of the work is for sale and a price list is included.
Description of work
Love this place framed photograph, image described above. Unless stated otherwise all the photographic images are from 35mm film negatives developed using liquid light applied to a range of substrates. Each print is hand-made and unique. After the foyer, on the left-hand wall there is another framed photograph- of my boots from the ‘matri-line’ walk, the actual boots are on the floor below. The image below is a photograph of said boots developed on stone using liquid light.
Memories of Gosforth and my Mum
In 2013 I recorded a conversation with my Mum which can be heard via the headphones. The images on the monitor are of her in recent years with friends and family. The conversation was based on us looking together at a map of Gosforth from 1913 which is also on the wall, below a framed rubbing of the family name, Eleanor.
On the ‘matri-line’ walk I collected rubbings of women’s names from graveyards. The stones tell stories of women’s lives over the last couple of hundred years. Before the walk it had not occurred to me that not all women had the vote in the year of my Mum’s birth.
Above the monitor there is a drawing of my Mum screen printed onto map fabric. I remove the open-weave linen fabric backing of old maps by soaking water. It is an evocative substrate for my work.
Also on the wall is a framed photograph of Holy Island.
Map and flower prints
On the right-hand side of the entrance is a scale map of my walk. The line traces my path, with my night-stops also indicated. The small tags contain vignettes of encounters and experiences relating to women. These are expanded in the Standing Our Ground book (see below). On the left of the map are a series of prints (scans and cyanotypes) of pressed flowers I gathered during my walk.
River ‘totem’ and water
My walk took me over the Pennine Dales crossing several watersheds. The image is of the names of these rivers letterpress printed onto map fabric with bottles of water from each river collected on the walk.
Books and cards
Also in this area are cards for sale (cyanotype prints and wave traces, see below), and hand-made books:
- My notebook from the walk
- Stories of women’s strength gathered through correspondence with friends during the walk
- Images of the banners I placed each day along the way
- Standing Our Ground- stories about women
- The maps I used to navigate the walk each day
Walking traces and recovered banner
In the centre of this wall is one of the original banners I placed on the walk, just leaving Arkengarthdale. It was recovered six months later showing signs of weather damage and decay. The original banner is pictured below.
Around this are arranged a series of kinetic traces from each day of the walk. I lined a rigid cardboard cylinder with paper into which were sealed pieces of charcoal, and placed this in my rucksack. The resulting patterns are a direct record of my movements each day.
The two remaining walls- prints, cyanotypes and traces
When you are walking stop and smile at a stranger– this is a quote, an ‘instruction’, from Louise Bourgeois letterpress printed onto map fabric. I followed it on the walk as much as I could.
This is flanked on the right by cyanotype prints of Sweet Cicely (a North Country plant) and a Northumberland hillside , and on the left by walking and wave traces. These were created as described above but using colour pastels and, in the case of the wave traces, by repeatedly throwing the (waterproof) cylinder into the sea at Tynemouth. The small walking traces record walks along the Northumberland coast around Embleton Bay.
Endlessly stitching- letterpress print on map fabric. The text is quoted from ‘The Plough and the Coble’ a book of poetry about Northumberland by J C Grant, published in Newcastle in 1967.
Samples of photographs from the walk and previous trips to Northumberland. These are unique prints created in the darkroom from 35mm film negatives using ‘liquid light’, a light sensitive gel painted onto substrates to create unique patterns and brush strokes, as well as enabling photographic images to be developed on unusual surfaces such as the stones below.
I am very grateful for help and support from friends and fellow artists: Peter Cartwright and Ann Pillar for letterpress printing, Judy Hall for calligraphy, Richard Honey for digital printing, Lynette Willoughby for design and print, Alex Craig for installation, Louise Atkinson, Nichola Pemberton and Carla Hall for personal and technical support, and helpful staff from Leeds College of Art and Gosforth Civic Theatre.
Liquid light photographic prints On paper (framed) £30-50
Liquid light photographic prints On stones £35-50
Wave traces various £25-45
Walking traces (framed) £30
Cyanotypes (framed) £30-50
Letterpress prints on map fabric
River Totem £45 (framed)
Endlessly Stitching £35 (unframed)
When you are walking…. £60 (framed)
Commissions taken, contact:
Lesley Eleanor Wood, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Tel: 07704452862, web lesleyeleanorwood.com