Have you ever been stuck under a gravestone? In the dark?
You have to wait for the light to shine on you again. It can be a long time.
On 24–25 March 2018 Bath Spa University students Tick Rowley and Katherine Michaelmas (pictured together, right) showcased their first exhibition, In the Mists, an exploration of community and a love letter to their home, Norton St Philip. Nestled in the intimate Barn Brewery House, there was more than a touch of the quintessential English village in the rustic cosiness of the art space, which perfectly complemented the themes of the exhibition. Visitors were invited to walk around the room and experience the distinctive characteristics of the village.
Some photographs were abstract and eerie, ornamenting the stories with uncanny undertones, others captured and brought to mind the strong sense of place
For Rowley, who provided the written pieces in the exhibition, it is the people. The prose pieces, Patience in the Dark and Beyond the Meadow Waits, turn local children into the heroes of their own fairy tales. Magnetic, enigmatic stories full of atmosphere, reminiscent of a Neil Gaiman children’s book. The history of Norton St Philip is similarly presented in poetic pieces, reviving the bloody drama of the Monmouth Rebellion and conjuring the village’s own local flavour of folklore in the essential English quality of misty meads and timeless mornings.
The tonality of the exhibition was given an added, shadowy dimension by the photography of Michaelmas. Whilst some photographs were abstract and eerie, ornamenting the stories with uncanny undertones, others captured and brought to mind the strong sense of place evident in Norton St Philip. The centerpiece of the exhibition was a large ceramic mural. A piece which provided an excellent focal point for the room: its charred, weathered appearance seemingly bearing witness to all that has happened in the village.
As a final flourish for this community-centric exhibition, local artists were invited to add their own artworks to a communal wall. The evening was captured by photographer Kevin Mitchell, whose images have accompanied this article. Overall, In the Mists was a fantastic exploration of place overflowing with charm and atmosphere, and well worth a look.