Monday, 15 October 2018 08:54

A vestige of the past

    British Sculptor and Environmental Artist Rob Mulholland was recently commissioned by Morecombe Bay Partnership as part of its ‘Headlands to Headspace’ project to develop an outdoor site-specific art installation to reflect the heritage of Morecombe Bay.

    Rob developed a series of mirrored dwellings to be temporarily installed on both The Barrows, Heysham Coast and Birkrigg Common near Ulverston in Cumbria. Inspired by early Anglo-Saxon designs, the dwellings aimed to encourage viewers to consider the influence of people of the past on Morecambe Bay. Six mirrored figures interspersed with the dwellings represent the communities that once settled on this land, reminding the viewer of the people who worked the land and the sea in centuries gone by.

    By using mirrored surfaces, Mulholland brings literal reflection into being, making the viewer and a distorted landscape and sky integral parts of the work. By catching glimpses of themselves, viewers see an image not only in the present, but a hint of those who may have walked in the same landscape, a vestige of the past.

    The dramatic sites at Heysham Head near Morecombe and with the remnants of St Patrick’s Chapel and the rock graves immediately draws one to imagine the location’s historical past. The open vista and views across the sea further enhance this feeling of being witness to a moment in time, imagining the early settlers sailing into the bay and establishing a new home.

    “My artistic vision aims to connect the present-day visitor to this past world, allowing the visitors to create their own connection between themselves and the past history and heritage of the region,” explains Rob. “My artistic vision is not rigid, it’s purposely open to interpretation. The ambiguity of the forms and utilisation of unconventional materials will further enhance the visual experience.”

    Creative concept

    Talking before the project began, Rob explained: “My proposal is to create an art installation comprising a group of four small house structures based on early Anglo-Saxon design which are constructed in steel and wood and clad in mirrored stainless steel. The mirrored structures will be visible, but will also distort and alter the space. As if materialising and then disappearing, a vestige or trace of the past. Each one reflecting and edifying the surrounding natural environment, constantly changing with the light and movement and passing seasons.

    Grouped close to the house structures are a small gathering of mirrored figures representing the past historical inhabitants. Their generic forms, more symbolic than representational.”

    The artwork was planned for installation in June and exhibited until the end of this month for the full length of the festival.

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