National Trust Cherryburn in Northumberland, the birthplace of artist, printer and naturalist Thomas Bewick, has unveiled a new contemporary art exhibition by artist Mark Fairnington.
The exhibition, Walking, Looking and Telling Tales, will be on display at Cherryburn until Sunday 4 November.
In order to produce this unique collection, Mark followed in the footsteps of Bewick by walking and exploring the striking landscape that encompasses Cherryburn. These wanderings provided the inspiration for his works which also reference Bewick in their style.
Walking, Looking and Telling Tales allows visitors of Cherryburn to look upon the rural scenery through the lens of Thomas Bewick and recognise the creative influence that it wields. Much of what is visible from the grounds of the site has barely changed since it moved Bewick himself to create much of his famous work. By similarly making the surrounding countryside the subject of his own collection, Mark seeks to form a connection between the past and the present with a shared appreciation of the area’s distinct natural beauty.
Mark Fairnington is Reader in Painting at the University of the Arts London. His work has been featured in a number of distinguished museums throughout Europe and the US, including the Imperial War Museum, the Oxford Museum of Natural History, the Natural History Museum, and the Horniman Museum. The focus of his work lies in the individual eccentricities of his subjects, which he seeks to highlight and celebrate.
The exhibition is part of the research project ‘Mapping Contemporary Art in the Heritage Experience’ led by Newcastle and Leeds Universities working in partnership with the National Trust, Arts&Heritage, English Heritage and the Churches Conservation Trust.
Judith King, part of Newcastle University’s research team, said: “Cherryburn is such a special, intimate place we knew that artists would be eager to respond to this modest house with its tiny separate dwelling that is Thomas Bewick’s birthplace.”
She continued: “This extraordinary craftsman, England’s most respected printmaker resonated strongly with painter Mark Fairnington - so much so that this 21st century artist has produced an entirely new body of work, different from his previous exquisitely detailed paintings of the natural world.
Fairnington’s new landscapes for Cherryburn demonstrate how much can be gained from a visual dialogue between two artists- even though they are separated by time.”
Cultural Programme Coordinator, Kiki Claxton, added: “This is the second year that Cherryburn has supported artist to use its history as inspiration for a body of new work, enabling us to view Bewick’s legacy through a new lens. Commissioning contemporary artists brings a new perspective on Berwick, making him contemporary and relevant for our audiences visiting today.”
Walking, Looking and Telling Tales is open every day from 11am-3pm. Free for National Trust members or normal admission charges apply.