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Post: ‘Within Nature – East and West’

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‘Within Nature – East and West’

Our newest exhibition at Cliffe Castle has just opened to visitors. In this blog Lowri, our Collections curator gives us an insight into the exhibition. She writes:

Three artists, two from South Korea and one from England met at Camberwell School of Art in 1990 and became friends. They promised each other that one day they would hold an exhibition together.

The years pass and now in 2024, Bradford District Museums and Galleries are pleased to announce the opening of their exhibition ‘Within Nature – East and West’.

The exhibition of paintings and works on paper, which runs from 1 June to 1 December, bring together images from the two cultures all share the same theme: the natural world.

South Korean artists JongHa Park and his wife, Sungsil Park who live in Seoul will show paintings brought from their homeland, and work created especially for this exhibition alongside works on paper by Yorkshire based artist Bridget Tempest.

Stretching across both floors of the striking Bracewell-Smith Hall at the centre of Bradford Council’s Cliffe Castle Museum in Keighley, the exhibition will show artistic representations of nature from the two cultures.

Artist JongHa Park said: “My paintings express thoughts and feelings about the values and perceptions of what is nature and who are humans? I am interested in Taoism and Ki theory, which are Eastern natural philosophies, and I am also inspired by the Book of Genesis in the Bible. The important thing is ‘here and now’ and the idea that all things are connected by Ki (energy). The Eastern view of nature is that nature and humans are one, expressed differently, rather than being separated into different natural orders and beings.”

Artist SungSil Park said: “My paintings express my thoughts about the life of all beings, its circulation, change, and order, and ideas from Eastern Zen Buddhist philosophy and eco-centered ideology that nature and humans have one source. All the animals, plants, and various living things that I encounter in my daily life, and the environment that makes them exist; the mountains and fields, are my subject. In other words, I feel that everyday life is already a miracle and my work has always been to paint what I see in a realistic style.”

Bridget Tempest lives in her studio above Skipton. Her images are taken from her immediate surroundings and reflect her relationship with the land and her concerns about climate change. She said: “My images are drawn from nature. I work slowly, out in the woods, drawing directly onto large copper etching plates. Slowly, so that I can pay attention to the rhythms of where I am and what I am seeing. Appreciating nature’s harmony, I am dismayed by what we are still doing to the world.”

The installation of the exhibition involved a rejig of both floors of the Bracewell-Smith Hall at Cliffe Castle. After removing the existing artworks the BDMG team and the artists worked together to hang the new works.

Bridget Tempest was trialling a new method of framing for her, sandwiching artworks on paper between two sheets of clear Perspex. The end results look striking, although does take a long time to put together!

Jongha and Sungsil Parks took a more traditional approach with their hang, going for a multi-layered approach meaning that we were able to fit a large number of their artworks into the space.

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Artwork ready to be installed

Within Nature runs until the beginning of December 2024 at Cliffe Castle Museum, Keighley

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