VOID Gallery (Derry-Londonderry), Millennium Court Arts Centre (Portadown), and Abridged Magazine presents Haunted, a dual exhibition by Kelly Richardson, curated by Gregory McCartney. Part One launched in April at MCAC Portadown and Part Two opens at VOID, Derry on 24th May 2014. The exhibition is accompanied by a special 10th anniversary edition of Abridged featuring poetry by Gerard Smyth, Kelli Allen, Kathleen McCracken, Damian Smyth, Olive Broderick, Gerald Dawe, Susannah Galbraith, Gerard Beirne, Simon Jones, Moyra Donaldson, Mathew Sweeney, Howard Wright, Nuala Ni Chonchuir, Joanna Grant, Emma Must, Joe Duggan, Stephen Connolly, Maria Finch and art by Kelly Richardson.
Kelly Richardson presents three large-scale video installations, Mariner 9, Exiles of the Shattered Star and Orion Tide at Void Gallery Derry.
Mariner 9 (2012) is a life-size, 13 metre long panoramic view of Mars at a fixed point in time 100-200 years in the future, presenting a minutely detailed battlefield of real and imagined spacecraft amidst a dust storm. Whilst most of the failing, abandoned craft are no more than corroding remains, some still partially function, attempting to find signs of life, and occasionally transmitting data back to a planet where possibly there’s no-one left to receive it. Richardson has taken NASA’s own imagery and technical data of the Martian landscape, and combined it with Terragen, a complex scenery generation software used by the film and gaming industries, stretching its capabilities to create an uber-realistic red planet, complete with its own distinctive geology, weather patterns and soundscape.
Orion Tide (2013) presents a Roswell-esque desert with what appears to be countless rockets exiting planet Earth into the dark night sky. It could illustrate the end-game of humanity’s exploitation and exhaustion of the natural world or perhaps the start of a new evolution, a new hybridisation of the scientific and natural; most likely the former has caused the latter. Are we at war with some unknown enemy threatening to overwhelm us or have we already lost the battle and are abandoning our posts? We can’t be certain. Science creates its own fictions and progress isn’t always benign; progression inherently carries within it obsolescence and atrophy.
In Exiles of the Shattered Star (2006) we see perhaps not only the destruction of The Lake District but also perhaps the destruction of the high ideals of the Romantic poets. A beautiful even sublime landscape (and by implication its populace) is rained upon with mysterious fireballs. Nature cares nothing for its admirers and tormentors. The poet and politician perish just the same. Exiles is perhaps the bleakest of all the works in Haunted. As Morrissey put it: ‘Hopes may rise on the Grasmere but Honey Pie, you’re not safe here’.
In these video installations the artist combines technical virtuosity with an apocalyptic sensibility resulting in works subtle and at once vast in their scope. They exist not only in the tradition of artists’ film and video but also in that of landscape painting; in the same sphere as Turner and John Martin in their creation of abstract, epic landscapes full of storm and revelation but also delicate and beautiful. Richardson gives us a glimpse of a future here. It is up to us to decide what to do next.
Kelly Richardson is one of the leading representatives of a new generation of artists working with digital technologies to create hyper-real, highly charged landscapes, alongside figures such as John Gerrard and Saskia Olde Wolbers. She draws on science-fiction cinema, literature and the history of landscape painting in works that interweave fine art, animation, real footage of spectacular natural wildernesses and Hollywood special effects, to create highly sophisticated and immersive works realised over several months, and sometimes years. She has shown work in Beijing, Gwangju and Busan biennales, Toronto International Film Festival, Sundance Film Festivals of 2009 and 2011 and has exhibited in major museums in the USA and Canada including the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; and the Musée d’art contemporain de Montreal and the Art Gallery of Ontario. From Canada, she lives in Whitley Bay in the North of England.
Abridged is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.