Artists: Paul Collinson, Matthew Conduit, Esther Johnson, Salvatore Fiorello, Steve Hawley, Helen Saunders, Michael Szpakowski, Sean Williams, Jonathan Wilkinson
The concept of âRomantic' landscape emerged in the 19th Century when creative communities reacted against the Enlightenment and Industrialist movements (which sought to harness the natural environment in the pursuit of a better world). Artists and writers created a new language influencing how we today understand rural areas, equating them with aesthetic experience and wholesome natural beauty as opposed to merely working and living
Within the context of an idealised âcountryside' it's easy to view the modern urban sprawl as brutal, dirty and ugly. However, as successive generations take urban and suburban environments as their home, the landscape itself has become part of their historical makeup. In many cities iconic buildings that appear ugly and brutal to outsiders hold a special place in the city dwellers' hearts; streets, buildings and cultures have become integral to collective memories, nostalgia and a sense of belonging.
A Modern Romance features nine artists who use different approaches to depict urban and suburban environments in the twenty-first century. Presenting works that focus on cityscapes and vacant spaces as locations of overlooked beauty, nostalgia, aesthetic experience and Englishness, this new exhibition features contemporary figurative painters, photographers and video-makers who offer a very different take on the English landscape.
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