About the work
Over the past year Edward Crumpton has been working on a project that will see him visit twelve different islands across the British Isles. This project began in 2014 when he went to his first island off the Devon coastline, Lundy Island. Going to Lundy, a place surrounded by sea, separated from the mainland meant he could focus his practice on studying the geology of the landscape, what it was used for and how traces of human habitation have left their mark.
This painting shows the history of the archaeological findings at an ancient stone burial site discovered in 1851 that revealed two oversized skeleton remains. Edward’s painting recounts each part of the story through the use of multiple layers of ink with different aspects coming to the front and back of the picture. The dark part of the picture is the grave being uncovered, like a crack in the earth revealing the hidden past of the island. Inside the grave they found blue beads and broken clay pottery. The blue beads have now become a circle in the picture, shown as a necklace. This necklace also represents the passage of time, moving around the picture. The yellow highlighted areas represent broken bits of pottery and the faint pencil lines are a window looking back through time. A human hand overlays the landscape, beads, pottery and the grave which shows how we, as humans, can connect to one another, past and present.
A Visitor to Lundy Island
This colourful, multi layered painting depicts a personal journey by the artist to Lundy Island in 2014. In his studio, where this painting was made, he relocates the different light, sounds and smells which all the push forward a record of that memory.
The hand and self-portrait dominate the picture. The artist has put himself in the picture as a translucent figure to convey, how we as humans, try to rule over the landscape. This of course is futile as we have no real control over the gravitational or tectonic movements of the surface of the earth. The hand, which comes from the lower part of the picture, is a gesture of an offering from the land; to live in peace and unity with the place rather than to control it.
H.M.S Montagu Steps
This landscape tells the story of the H.M.S Montagu shipwrecked on Lundy Island in 1906. The ship crashed on the rocks close to Shutter Point on the South-Western side of the island. The artist visited this place not only to make drawings and take photographs, but to discover if the wreck had changed the landscape after it was dismantled. Today, the ship is underwaterhowever, when the ship was above the tide a large bridge was made connecting the ship to the Island. Steps were also cut out of the rock so that a ladder could be connected to the ship. These are both recorded in the painting on the middle and right hand side.
In the studio, Edward began to overlay different sketches to develop the composition. Life-like colours were expressed in the painting; especially the rusty browns and oranges that were seen by the artist as some of the metal ladders had stained the granite rock.
On the horizon you can read the names and dates of recorded shipwrecks on this island from the late 1600s to the approximate date of H.M.S Montagu shipwreck. The artist has written this down as a way of recalling that this is only one of many ships which have succumbed to the perils of traveling by boat on the Bristol Channel.
On the top right hand corner the map of the Isles of Scilly is shown. This has significance as the H.M.S Montagu was sailing to test a new telegraphic signalling apparatus and was trying to communicate with these islands. The ship itself was built in response to the large French and Russian building programmes of battleships at the time which is why you can see the two national flags painted inside the map of the Isles of Scilly.
Once again the artist has put hands in the picture which are translucent in their appearance, to give the audience a sense that they are swimming; moving inside the space of the picture and drifting in and out of its narrative.
These four oil paintings are part of a series of works by the artist Edward Crumpton who uses vivid colours, gestural brush strokes and fluid lines to represent different views across Lundy Island as a place surrounded by the sea and sky. The artist has applied thick oil to the canvas to show the audience the physical processes, mixing colours onto a surface in a sculptural way; trying to represent the formation of images he’s remembered back in the studio. This is especially true in the painting Weathering Granite where the thickly applied paint and jagged lines show how the Western side of the island is shaped by the erosion of the sea and wind.
There are seven drawings which Edward made from observation on the island. These reveal the connecting conversations Edward had between the land, sea and sky. When networks of these three forms are connected to one another it is possible that a drawing can form into an abstract piece. This is realised by the artist in the framed picture in the show called North West Point.
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