Sheffield Millennium Gallery: Monday 28 January 2013

This was a really interesting and stimulating show covering a range of artists, periods and art forms. I was impressed by the use of gallery text that gave some insights into Ruskin’s ethos and views. However I was disappointed that this was not fully supported by their website that contained little of the gallery text, only a few examples of the works and did not give a full list of the works in the show. Although it is good that there is now a link to download Jacqueline Yallop’s accompanying Force of Nature essay; this was also available in the gallery but it is good to be able to study it further away from the gallery.

One particular text that stood out and seems to resonate with my current research and practice was:

Seeing the Landscape: All great art praise

For Ruskin, understanding the landscape through art was a form of religious celebration

This seemed to link so strongly with my research interests and current practice that I am investing some time in researching Ruskin and his writings.

The highlights of the show for me included:

Dan Holdsworth Andoya 2006 c-type photo

Dan Holdsworth, Andoya, 2006 © Dan Holdsworth, 2012

David Nash Wooden Boulder 2004 film

Julian Opie Jet Stream 2011 continuous computer animation

Kathleen Herbert I may be a wage slave on Monday but I am a freeman on Sunday 2011 HD video

I may be a wage slave on Monday but I am a free man come Sunday, 2011 - 2011, Kathleen Herbert

[the audio was disconcerting, so much so that my companion found it difficult to view the video for any more than a few seconds; this seems somewhat counter productive, surely it is not advisable to make a work too uncomfortable so that viewers do not fully engage with it]

Kathy Prendergast Land 1990 canvas, fabric, paint, wood & metal

Force of Nature, featuring Land (1990) by Kathy Prendergast. Photo © Museums Sheffield

Alfred Maskell Landscape 1898 photograph, gum bichromate print

Landscape (1898) by Alfed Maskell. Photo © National Media Museum

It was interesting to note from the gallery text that: “Unlike Ruskin, Maskell believed that photographs could be considered art.” [It was disappointing to find that Ruskin did not recognise photography as a valid art form.]

George Davison Reflections, Weston-on-the-Green 1899 photogravure print
Reflections, Weston-on-the-Green (1899), George Davison. Photo © National Media Museum

Again the gallery text was worth noting: “Like Maskell, Davison was a founder member of the Brotherhood of the linked ring. Critics applauded him as one of the first impressionist photographers …”