Moonscapes Contemporary Art Interventions

In the year of the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, our latest exhibition Moonscapes, opening at Watts Gallery on 2 April 2019, is the first exhibition to explore nineteenth-century visions of the moon.

Presenting a selection of works by significant artists including William Holman Hunt, John Atkinson Grimshaw, Evelyn de Morgan and G F Watts, Moonscapes will consider the Victorian fascination with the earth's closest cosmic neighbour, bringing into focus the many ways in which nineteenth-century artists have drawn inspiration from the moon.

The exhibition will also be accompanied by the below programme of contemporary art interventions that will accent the key themes of the exhibition through light, sound and space.

Artemis - Charlie Barton

"It's impossible not to wonder at the Moon and about the Moon, it's full of myth and magic. My inspiration to paint the moon came from a number of influences, as a child I listened endlessly to David Bowie's Space Oddity; I was rocketed up in that tin can to a wondrous world way beyond my world… I grew up on Salisbury Plain where we would ride across the cratered "Impact Area", a pock marked landscape that seemed to me just like the surface of the moon. As there was no light pollution on the Plain the night sky was often a visual feast of stars. My late father who navigated on the first Round The World sailing race, gave me huge inspiration when describing the night sky on his voyage. His sextant was always an object of fascination to me. On his death in 2000 I was drawn to contemplate the cosmos & found myself lured to the Moon."

"I paint in oil, & sometimes pigment. I begin my process by painting on the floor where I apply a resin called Alkaflow to create the texture of the lunar surface, once dried, the canvas goes back onto the wall where I apply more paint. This process is repeated so I build up layers of paint."

Cosmoscope - Simeon Nelson with Rob Godman and Nick Rothwell

Begun in 2016, Cosmoscope was a major interdisciplinary research project led by Simeon Nelson, Professor of Sculpture at the University of Hertfordshire. It brought together leading biomedical, astro and experimental physicists at University College London, Oxford University and Durham University, and psychologist Monia Brizzi.

Inspired by historical astronomical instruments and models of the cosmos, Cosmoscope presents a narrative of the origins, evolution and nature of life. The installation explores quantum, human and cosmic scales from the biomedical study of blood flowing through the human heart, to the order and disorder of atoms and molecules, to the dynamics of cosmic formation and meaning.

Accompanying Moonscapes, an exhibition that explores the interactions between art and astronomy in the late nineteenth century, Cosmoscope illustrates how the latest ideas and research in art and science continue to draw upon and inspire each other today.

We would like to thank the University of Hertfordshire for the substantial support of the installation of this work at Watts Gallery - Artists' Village.

Year 2. Arsenic 1 - Garry Fabian Miller

Garry Fabian Miller is one of the most progressive figures in contemporary fine art photography. He gained international acclaim in the 1970s for photographs of sky, land and sea, notably the series

Sections of England: The Sea Horizon, 1975/76. Since the mid-80s, he has worked without a camera to experiment with the possibilities of light as both medium and subject. His work is held in private and public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Government Art Collection, London, Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio, and the Kasama Nichido Museum of Art, Tokyo. Norton Art Museum, Palm Beach. The Victoria and Albert Museum, London has the largest collection of his work, collected over thirty years.

The Moon Cabinet - Rupert Senior

Exploring the blurred boundary between Art and Science, the Moon Cabinet draws inspiration from orreries, the moon and beyond. The swirls in the burr ash grain look like the surface of the moon and are interspersed with craters and sub-craters, gilded in yellow gold, palladium and 'moon gold' leaf. Opening the doors reveals a magnificent blue night sky. The craters are now transformed into planets within a solar system that seem to float in space. At the centre is a black hole.

It is a key cabinet. Behind the craters are stainless steel hooks, fashioned like little satellites spinning off into space.


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