Daniel Sturgis












Daniel Sturgis






Patrick Caulfield, Michael Craig-Martin, Leo Fitzmaurice, Sam Francis, Pamela Fraser, Lucy Gunning, Gary Hume, Jasleen Kaur, Ian Mckeever, Lisa Milroy, Paul Morrison, Eva Rothschild, Sean Scully, Daniel Sturgis, Roy Voss

Curated by artist Daniel Sturgis in collaboration Grizedale Arts, the exhibition focuses on how the ideas, genius or place of landscape painting have been manifested, but not overtly displayed, in a variety of practices. As such, Against Landscape will therefore not include any ‘straight-forward’ landscape paintings, but will rather present a diverse collection of contemporary and historic works that revolve around the idea(s) of ‘landscape representation’ in ‘painting’. The exhibition spotlights the complex relationship to landscape and landscape painting within each of these artists’ work, and in Sturgis’ own painting practice. Although not all the artists selected are painters, and none would describe themselves as a landscape painter, all of these pieces can perhaps be seen to hold or connect to ideas associated with landscape painting. For some artists this connection is hidden but for others it is more explicit. 

The initial setting for this exhibition was the Coniston Institute in the Lake District. This was the site of a series of important landscape painting exhibitions in the 19th century, and is historically connected to the life and work of John Ruskin, the 19th century art critic, writer and utopian socialist. Ruskin did much to recognize and define the uniqueness of landscape painting in the 19th century. He championed, through Turner, landscape paintings’ relationship to ideas—ideas about how a painting is made, as well as how a painting can relate to the environment and politics. Against Landscape therefore takes its inspiration from this history and setting and some of the contested traditions which are at its heart. It asks you to consider what it means to represent or refer to ‘landscape painting’ now and how other ideas are held in that representation. 

The second setting of this exhibition in an art school, allows for an alternative exploration of an oft-visited thematic in student work. Moreover, it examines why such a subject has continuing relevance in the 21st Century. It points to connections between landscape painting and abstraction and Ruskin’s social project and modernism. 

Grizedale Arts, who have designed the purpose built functional exhibition structure, also takes inspiration from Ruskin’s legacy. Ruskin had a belief for art and an artistic life to be above all useful, and this hanging system both harks back to early radical modernist exhibition displays but also will allow paintings to be shown in a diversity of spaces, including non-art spaces. 

An ESSAY BY CHARLIE GERE was published to accompany this exhibition.

Pamela Fraser Sixteen Colours Bolton 2014 digital prints, 42 x 59 cm


Ian McKeever Study for Painting for a Hole in the Ground 1976, Graphite, acrylic, crayon and collage on paper, 105 x 74 cm


Eva Rothschild The House in the Woods 1998, c type print, 42 x 59 cm


Patrick Caulfield View inside a Cave 1965, alkyd on hardboard, 122 x 213 cm


installation at Glasgow School of Art featuring Grizedale Arts display system designed through participatory workshops by Tom Philipson