Horizons by Johnathan Parsons

15 Jun 2018 – 31 Aug 2018

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Horizons is a series of site-specific interventions in the chalk landscape of the northern Surrey Hills.


The works use the colour white, which is inspired by ancient chalk hill figures and is visible from a far distance. Installations, text pieces and projections will align in the landscape, with letters composed of a matrix of bright discs and scribble forms displayed on a monumental scale.

The project takes its name from the distinct soil layers of the earth, known as horizons. The chalk of the Surrey Hills – the ‘R’ bedrock horizon – was laid down on a tropical seabed roughly 90 million years ago. It is composed of the disc-shaped skeletal remains of phytoplankton called coccoliths. They fell as microscopic snow to the ocean floor over millions of years forming layers of silt kilometers thick. This gradually compressed into pure white calcite limestone: the chalk we see today.

Horizons will reflect structures and uses of the chalk at different scales through poetic associations. The discs making up the text pieces represent the microscopic coccoliths. Scribble forms evoke a substance that can be manipulated at the human scale. Alignments of works in the landscape embody the shapes and location of the chalk hill escarpments. Horizonswill also engage with ideas of landscape as an artistic genre and the landscape as something that can be viewed as an image.

Fossil Ocean Floor will be a monumental installation in farmland adjacent to the Great Western Railway near Dorking. The work will be viewable from 15 June – 31 August 2018. It can be viewed from the carriage road at Ranmore Common, the train from West Dorking and the footpath across Milton Court Farm.

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