For the past two years, I’ve been collaborating with visual artist Pat Gregory, with the aim of working towards a joint exhibition of prints and poetry. It’s been fascinating to see how the two disciplines can feed off and inspire each other and I’m really excited that our exhibition is finally opening at Oriel Canfas Gallery here in Cardiff on 13th September.

I’m sure I’ll be adding more posts about this event over the next few months. In the meantime, here’s a sneak preview – not of the work itself, but of the opening para from our introduction to the exhibition:

“This collaboration, Up There Where The Air Is Rarefied, between visual artist Pat Gregory and poet Susan Richardson, examines the metaphorical significance of ‘the North’ – a concept which has very different resonance for different geographies and cultures. In the process of making the work, we have drawn on a wide range of sources including Inuit Folk Tales, Icelandic Sagas and polar explorers’ narratives, as well as on our own personal travels in northern, sub-arctic and arctic regions.

In addition to feeling that the concept of ‘the North’ is rich in artistic possibilities, we quickly came to see that it is strongly relevant to contemporary life. Most obviously, it has environmental significance in view of the urgent attention currently being paid to global warming and the melting of the arctic ice cap. It also raises issues of gender, with the convention of the tough male explorer penetrating the virgin icescape to conquer and claim the Pole. We also became fascinated by the way in which ‘the north’ embraces so many opposites – such as darkness/light and black/white – and strove to reflect these opposites in our work….”

3 responses to “Up There Where the Air is Rarified

  1. Mistlethrush – thank you! I’m excited about it but also a bit overwhelmed by all that has to be done between now and the opening.

    Coastcard – I know the place you mean! (Flodigarry, I think?) We were there three years ago. The Outer Hebrides looked so enticing that we took a boat there the next day! Such a special quality of light, as you say.

  2. This sounds very innovative & special. I won't forget my most northerly experience to date, marked by the quality of light as we looked out towards the Outer Hebrides from Flora MacDonald's grave on Skye: magical!

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