A new exhibition by Art Gene is coming to Barrow.
Building on The Calling Sheds exhibition, it is an investigation into the working lives of four women shepherds based in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales and brings together work by artist Patricia Mackinnon-Day made in collaboration with poet Kim Moore and composer Nick Rogers.
The Tracing Shadows exhibition, which presents artworks both inside and outside Art Gene’s Bath Street site, takes inspiration from the passion and commitment of a Cumbrian shepherd based at Cartmel Fell, and the rich heritage of sheep farming in this region with links to the monastic success of Furness Abbey.
Tracing the Shadows is an exploration into the working life of Lisa Berry, a contemporary woman sheep farmer based in the Cumbrian Fells. The newly commissioned work in moving image, sculpture, poetry and music is funded by a large National Lottery Project Grant award.
In this ambitious multi-disciplinary project the three creative practitioners have taken inspiration from the working methods and inherent compassion Lisa Berry draws on to successfully raise sheep on her farm at Cartmel Fell.
This centuries-old practice of sheep farming in the Lake District contributed to the success of Furness Abbey in a location once known to the monastic order based there as the vale of nightshade.
Contributed to Furness Abbey position
It soon turned into a lucrative industry contributing to Furness Abbey’s position, up to its dissolution, as the largest and wealthiest monastery in North West England.
Whilst maintaining its reputation as a place of prayer, piety and pilgrimage, the abbey was also a major landowner to tenant sheep farmers across the Lake District. While the Abbey now stands as an imposing ruin, sheep farming continues throughout the county – relying on relentless commitment on the part of the farmer. It is this sense of dedication and of being in tune with nature that has led to the experimental collaboration between Mackinnon-Day, Moore and Rogers.
Visitors to the exhibition will experience distinctive responses to the natural and constructed heritage of the Lake District, from Cartmel Fell to Barrow-in-Furness, and its tradition of rearing sheep. Each evening Mackinnon Day’s dual-screen projection will be seen through the windows of Art Gene’s Victorian building by all passing the site that was once the town’s technical college.
The Calling Sheds part of the exhibition is an investigation by artist Patricia MacKinnon-Day into the language and working processes of four women shepherds in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Working in partnership with independent curator Charu Vallabhbhai, Mackinnon-Day seeks to creatively engage the collaborating shepherds, whilst also connecting female farmworkers in rural locations across the British Isles.
The project was initiated through the installation of a shed at each collaborating shepherd’s farm, an act that soon created a lively virtual space for dialogue in which the four
collaborating shepherds connect and share their common experiences.
The sheds sited on their farms have become their own private creative residency space, allowing them to step into another sphere where they live and work.
January 22 – 6-8pm – Private View (RSVP only)
January 22 – March 5 – Dual screen projection viewable from Abbey Road, Barrow every evening.
February 26 – February 27 12-4pm – Exhibition open to public.
Exhibition open on other dates by appointment.