by Moira Jarvis for ArtVerve, May 2017
Ridge 2 by Caroline Underwood (digital print on aluminium, 50x50cm, 2015)
Caroline Underwood, Jackie Brown and Moira Jarvis share a strong desire to connect with the natural world and recently met up in the Isle of Wight to walk from the most easterly point of the island to the most westerly point across the chalk ridge. This 26.5 walk was in aid of Earl Mountbatten Hospice and as the island is the shape of a diamond, the walk was from one tip of a diamond to another.
Although Caz is still based in London, her new home sits in the centre of the island. From her house she can easily reach the coast in any direction. As an artist this has become a catalyst for her work, setting off ideas as she literally sets off to the sea. She calls the top room of her house the crow’s nest and aims eventually to develop this space to accommodate an artist in residency scheme, initiating ideas from land to sea and giving visiting artists the opportunity to connect with the natural world.
Over half the Isle of Wight’s landscape is recognised as an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with miles of breath-taking Heritage Coastline. It is also of great geological interest. Quay Arts, a twenty minute walk from Caz’s house is an impressive focus for resident and visiting artists. It is currently showing an exhibition by Richard Long called The Isle of Wight as Six Walks. Richard Long is an artist who embarks on long distance walks to create work. For this exhibition, and documented in a wall piece, he walked across the island, vertically dissecting it from north to south. His flint floor sculpture was like bones from the earth and contrasted with the more ephemeral fluid marks made by hand and mud from the river that literally runs through the Quay Arts building.
Equally impressive was work made by school children in the education department which caught the essence of Long’s work. These beautiful tactile pieces with minimal mark making and an innate understanding of the use of materials showed very personal responses. Both exhibitions echoed our own experience of walking horizontally across the island, in our case from east to west.
We aim to continue the conversation for some time.
Quay Arts Sea Street Newport Harbour, Isle of Wight PO3O 5BD
Richard Long: The Isle of Wight as Six Walks – Exhibition continues till 1 July 2017 FREE