EarthArt is a series of collaborations between contemporary artists and scientists from the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol. Each collaboration consists of a six-month artist fellowship followed by a six-month exhibition in the unique EarthArt Gallery. EarthArt has been running continuously since 2015.
Hidden Landscapes by Jemma Gunning
The work on display is Jemma’s visual interpretation of deep time, looking closely at the various rocks that have carved up our landscapes.
In 2022 Jemma spent three months in the Peak District on a residency recording the post-industrial landscapes. She was drawn to the destruction of quarrying, amazed at how humans are essentially shape shifters. Layers upon layers of rocks caught her imagination and she became fascinated with the various strata, often pondering the notion of time. It’s not surprising, after all when you are stood inside an abandoned limestone quarry you are looking at a record of life on Earth.
Whilst being the artist in residence in the Earth Science department Jemma was excited to delve into the rock archives. She has always been fascinated by rocks. The colours, textures, and shapes raise questions about minerality, the rocks' past life and where and how far it has travelled. She always comes home from walking with one or two in her pocket and takes inspiration from them later down the line. A chance encounter with Maurice Tucker opened new possibilities of looking at limestone on a micro scale. Finding Derbyshire rocks to investigate further under the microscope was the beginning of a whole new visual language for her. Maurice kindly leant her a selection of Derbyshire limestone thin sections which revealed the beauty hidden in such forms. Further conversations led Jemma to work with Stuart Kearns where he showed her the wonderful world of scanning electron microscopy. This again became a tool for her to gain inspiration from.
Most of the prints on show are the results of investigating rocks in the petrology labs, evoking the notion of time, creating the opportunity for the hidden to appear.
The landscape lithographs were produced after going on a field trip with the geophysics students to Penwyllt, Brecon Beacons. Whilst the students gained familiarity with acquiring, interpreting, and presenting near surface geophysical / environmental data, Jemma spent her time drawing the scars in the landscape caused by mining. They become a visual documentation of the relics of a bygone era.
Jemma Gunning is a visual artist specialising in traditional printmaking methodologies. She is a member of the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers, Heritage Craft Association and runs her own print studio just outside of Bristol where she creates prints for exhibitions, commissions, and teaches people the wonders of the printed mark. To support her studio practice she has successfully been awarded grants for past projects, including Arts Council England, Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust and Elizabeth Greenshield Foundation.
Collaboration has become important to her practice whether that’s through creative projects or teaching. In 2016 she is co-founder of Bristol Print Collective. They deliver printmaking workshops in pop up venues in galleries, festivals and community spaces. Their aim is to keep the traditions of printmaking alive by offering accessible and engaging workshops for all members of society.
Exhibiton launch event.
22nd Nov, 6-8pm, Wills Memorial Building, Queens Road, BS8 1RJ
Book tickets here.