|The Forked Forest Path by Olafur Eliasson|
Also on show is Camp by Kelly Richardson, a hypnotic video installation of a full moon distorted by the heat vapour from a fire. The photograph Hiatus by Mircea Cantor shows a Romanian forest scene but with the central tree having been carved into a mysterious dovetailed device. I found this image quite unsettling and was also unnerved by Landscape 268 by John Virtue, an artist whose work I have admired at the Towner on previous visits. Landscape 268 is a large monochrome painting where glimpses of roofs and a lane are visible in an expanse of abstract shapes and dripping black lines. To me, it felt as if this painting was on the cusp of resolving itself into some nightmarish scene and I wasn't to keen to turn my back on it! However, just behind - don't back away from the Virtue or you'll crash into it! - is a fabulous miniature underwater sculpture entitled Sea Of Ice. Created by Mariele Neudecker, this is a clear glass tank filled with dyed water obscuring a sunken ship. Different aspects of the ship are visible from each side of the tank and I enjoyed discovering the work.
The third room contains paintings and drawings including Starlight Landscape by Edward Stott, a painting I first saw and loved at the Towner in an exhibition several years ago now. I wasn't expecting to see it again in Bon Hiver so was pleased to 'bump into' it again. The single tree image is bleak but I could spend ages staring into it, imagining myself there. Local winter scenes are provided by Claude Muncaster with the familiar scenery in watercolour, Snow On The Sussex Downs, and a Frank Wootton oil on canvas, Windover In Winter. From further afield, I especially liked Gilbert Mason's Hyde Park, Leeds, a study in gouache on paper, because it is the only scene that depicts winter as wet and windy rather than a snowy idyll.
Finally I took the other fork in the path on the way out to see Nordenskiold and The Ice Cap by Joachim Koestler, a slide show of photographs taken in Greenland. This work was fascinating as it really played with my sense of perspective. Many of the slides are of snowscapes with no other point of reference so I found it very hard to tell if I was seeing a small patch of snow close to the camera or a wide view looking miles ahead.
Towner Gallery, Sat 1st Dec 2012 to Sun 3rd Mar 2013.
Tue - Sun, 10:00 - 18:00. Free admission.