What would it feel like to be free of distraction and completely immersed in a moment?
MOMENT is an installation that places you at the heart of large-scale 3D oil paintings, projected drawings and sound.
This body of work is the result of making the journey to Shard Point on Brownsea Island, Poole Harbour once a week, every week over the course of a year. The journey was undertaken through the seasons and whatever the weather in order to collect moments experienced in this landscape.
The physical endeavour involved in walking across the island to this place week after week, carrying her materials with her, enabled Sarah Hough’s senses to become progressively more attuned to sound, wind, scent and colour, all of which find their way, directly or indirectly into her work.
Come and savour the MOMENT for yourself in the main gallery then share your moment with us using #themomentlibrary
The exhibition is open Tuesday - Saturdays between 4th May and 3rd August 2019
This exhibition is curated by Laura Mulhern in association with Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts.
Sarah Hough interview
Having visited the same spot on Brownsea Island once a week, every week, for a whole year Dorset artist Sarah Hough has created the imposing large-scale 3D oil paintings at the heart of her latest exhibition MOMENT, opening at Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts, on Saturday 4 May.
The paintings capture a series of fleeting moments seen and drawn from the beach at Shard Point near the historic site of Brownsea’s now derelict pottery. Working in howling gales and fierce storms as readily as soft breezes and warming sunshine, Sarah drew, painted and gathered impressions of the land and seascapes around her. Back in her West Dorset studio she then translated her sketches to the canvasses that make up the vast curved panels – each five metres long and two metres tall – that are suspended on posts inspired by the channel markers in Poole Harbour, creating a passage through the exhibition.
“I was taken with the idea of representing moments when you are just completely absorbed in what you’re doing and where you are, with none of the distractions that have become increasingly difficult to escape in this modern age,” she explains.
“The exhibition is a journey through my impressions of what I saw from Shard Point over those twelve months and because of the scale of the work it is a more immersive experience than if the viewer had been able to step back from a canvas on the wall. In fact, it’s quite possible that none of the pieces are truly finished until people are engaging with them, almost as if they have become part of the landscape.”
The sheer scale of the paintings meant that making them required no small measure of physical effort, a reflection of the lengths to which Sarah went in order to gather her source material. Each week she would park in Studland and walk to the chain ferry, then cross to Sandbanks in order to catch the boat to Brownsea. Once there it was another half an hour’s walk to Shard Point.
“By the time I got there I was completely ready to work and my mind was clear of the stresses of everyday life, I felt incredibly free to explore what I saw. It was a great privilege to be able to do that and I hope all of that comes across in the paintings and the way they are being shown.
“I mixed all my colours before I started painting so that I could work without stopping and deliberately used a limited colour palette so as not to overwhelm the work. Working on that scale is quite physically demanding and layering the glazes to build up the work taught me a lot about holding my nerve – at times everything just had to stop to allow the glaze to dry before I could paint again.”
Sarah’s sketchbooks will also form part of the exhibition with facsimilies of selected pages pasted on an outer wall. At the other end of the gallery space projected drawings with sound recorded at Shard Point will add further context to the experience.
“I used to live in Poole and did a lot of windsurfing so Brownsea was very much part of my landscape, but then I moved away and only rediscovered it fifteen years later when taking my children there.
“I’ve loved creating this body of work, it’s very personal and was self-funded with no particular end point in sight so to be able to bring something of Brownsea, which can feel remote for some people, to an accessible urban space in the heart of Poole feels quite special to me.”
Moment will run for three months at Lighthouse into the summer and although Sarah hopes to confirm selected workshops and talks relating to it, there are no definite plans for its future. One idea is for it to go on tour, or even to find a more permanent home for it.
“Whether you want it to or not, the moment will always pass and perhaps bring relief, happiness, resolve, regret, sadness, hope and renewal. I collect moments. I store them in words, drawings, paintings and found sounds. I’d love the exhibition to start conversations between people about moments they experience in their own special places.”
Share your moment and place on Instagram with the hashtag #themomentlibrary.
:: Image courtesy of The Arts Development Company, photo by Matt Austin