HAPPENSTANCE: by Russell Mills
With a new immersive soundwork by Mills and Mike Fearon
2 September – 6 November 2019
at Brantwood, home of John Ruskin 1872-1900
Created for Brantwood’s series of events celebrating the bicentenary of John Ruskin’s birth, and informed and inspired by ideas of contingency, chaos and order, surrender and control, Mills will exhibit mixed media works and a new multi-channel sound work..
Contextually anchored and process-driven, Mills’ work uses metaphorically charged materials and alchemic-like processes of slow and unknowable transformation. Shaped by evaporation, sedimentation, crystallisation and chemical reactions, they celebrate the weave of order and chaos, as diverse matter is either broken down into entropic confusion or necessarily arranges itself into a cohesive order.
Following Ruskin’s advocacy of close observation, ‘imagination by combination’ and ‘accidental association’, Mills creates works that, being analogous to the ceaseless flux of nature’s generative processes, mirror and explore many of Ruskin’s most significant ideas about the natural world: as matter, as force, as school, as metaphor for transformation, and as being profoundly political and economic. Using Brantwood itself as its source, Mills and Fearon’s new sound installation transforms Ruskin’s world into the sonic. In the spirit of Rimbaud’s synaesthesia, layered recordings made in the house, its surrounding landscape, and from above and within Coniston Water, augmented by melodic patterns derived from the prelude to Elgar’s ‘The Dream of
Gerontiius’ and Ruskin’s own ‘airs’, the work telescopes time to create a uniquely evocative portrait of place.
Russell Mills (born Ripon, Yorkshire, 1952) studied at Canterbury and Maidstone Colleges of Art, and the Royal College of Art. Mills’ pioneering practice spans media, encompassing mixed media painting, site-specific installation, sound, film, design, visuals and lighting for contemporary dance and music, and writing. His interdisciplinary approach has also led him to work with some of the most influential cultural figures of our time, producing album covers for the likes of Brian Eno, Nine Inch Nails, David Sylvian and Peter Gabriel, and book covers for Samuel Beckett, Ian McEwan and Milan Kundera, amongst many others. He has exhibited and created his immersive multimedia installations internationally. Juxtaposing traditional art materials with chemicals and organic matter, his work, morally and philosophically, exemplifies rare integrity. Mills lives and works in Ambleside.
Happenstance opens on Monday 2 September, then every day in the Severn Studio at Brantwood, 10.30 am-5.00 pm. Admission is included in the house or garden ticket. For further information please contact Brantwood, Coniston, LA21 8AD, Cumbria. T: 015394 41396. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.brantwood.org.uk
A limited-edition 80-page full-colour catalogue will also be available at the exhibition priced at £15.00 and can be ordered from Brantwood – Email: email@example.com or via this website. There are also 25 signed copies at £25.00 each, which can also be purchased through this website.
A limited edition 80 page full-colour catalogue will also be available at the exhibition priced at £15.00 and can be ordered from Brantwood – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or via this website.
There are also 25 signed copies at £25.00 each, which can also be purchased through this website from 1st September