This exhibition brings together paintings, sculptures, collages and works on paper by leading twentieth and twenty-first century artists who have been inspired to respond to the places in which they have lived and worked. The exhibition includes an array of intimate depictions of British landscapes from the Kettle’s Yard Collection, ranging from early paintings of Cumberland and Cornwall by Ben Nicholson and Alfred Wallis, to evocative textual and material compositions by Ian Hamilton Finlay. Selected collages, paintings and photographs of rural and urban sites by non-British artists such as Italo Valenti and Helen Frankenthaler are also on display.
The Kettle’s Yard Collection particularly highlights how artists have found new ways to represent their emotional, visual and physical connections to places. Kettle’s Yard House has itself too become a poignant site within Cambridge. Portraits of Place also extends beyond Kettle’s Yard’s Collection to include works by British artist Richard Long (b. 1945), lent by the artist. By gathering together and using materials such as natural forms, images, words, and employing and recording his own physical gestures, Long continues to respond to the feelings, scale and textures of places and journeys.
The title Portraits of Place is inspired by John Constable’s East Bergholt, a painting from Downing College which is not normally on public display but is included in this exhibition. The landscape is significant because it portrays Constable’s home village. Other landscapes in the exhibition depict places of significance to the artists.