Multimedia installation/intervention by Russell Mills and Ian Walton
Scale How, Charlotte Mason College, Ambleside, for the Ambleside Mountain Festival
Mixed media paintings, box assemblages, rusted corrugated metal sheets, leaves, copper tubes, lights, asynchronous 8 CD players 16 speakers surround sound system
Soundwork recorded by Russell Mills, Ian Walton and Charlie Shufflebottom, with low flutes by Mike Willoughby.

Between Two Lights

Scale How, Charlotte Mason College, (now University of Cumbria), Ambleside, Cumbria.
Multimedia installation by Russell Mills and Ian Walton for the Ambleside Mountain Festival

Mixed media paintings, box assemblages, rusted corrugated metal sheets, leaves, copper tubes, lights, asynchronous eight CD x 16 speakers surround sound system
While Between Two Lights was the opening event of the 1994-95 Ambleside Mountain Festival, it was not specifically concerned with mountains or mountaineering, but rather with the matter of land, not as pastoral or epic landscape but as phenomena, as school, instinct, sustainer, inspiration, danger, beauty and as wonder.
The mysteries inherent in land’s ceaseless transformations are revealed in nature’s means of quietly overwhelming artifice, in man-made objects and structures being slowly changed by unseen entropic forces. Moss and lichens invade territories, soil and rocks cause erosion, wind and water shifts, scars and weathers everything. Similarly, evidence is preserved by nature’s chemistry; bodies and objects preserved intact in the unusual acids of peat bogs and traces of former communities ghosted beneath the land’s mantle, provide pictures of living realities from mysterious or little known histories. Ideas of organic matter and of processes of becoming out of dissolution were explored using some of these natural materials themselves, including earth, leaves, humus, wood, copper and plants. Their use was determined not only by their inherent aesthetic beauty but also because of their potential to suggest multiple metaphoric, mythical and symbolic associations.

Using multiple sources of sound, including natural field recordings from in and around Ambleside, archive samples of dialect and music, played acoustic and electronically generated sounds; a ‘menu’ of tracks was assembled. Each track had its own duration differing from all others and each played in its own regular cycle thereby collectively creating a continuous permutation of the individual tracks as they occasionally met and blurred in unpredictable clusters. All tracks ran out of synchronization and theoretically would have taken several years of continual playing before they all returned to synchronisation.
Listeners never heard the same mixes of sound twice. This in-built process of indeterminacy mirrored the concerns of the visual works as they examined aspects of nature’s own cycles of flux.

between night and day + between dawn and dusk + between tides +

between the cliff edge and the abyss + between moons + between one condition and another + between the seen and the unseen + between the known and the unknown + between the summit and the void + between the historical fact and the possible future + between the conscious and the unconscious + between the dark and the light + between the touch and the feeling + between glare and shade + between blinks + between the enduring and the ethereal + between the object and its shadow + between moments + between then and now + between breaths + between glances + between being and dissolution.



"During the prolonged period of enforced Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, I suspect like many others, I spent some time in reflective mode. I found myself returning to the set of 30 works I’d made towards possible uses on the Nine Inch Nails’ Hesitation Marks release of 2013. All of these works were subsequently published in the Cargo In The Blood limited edition multiple that was released following the album’s release. I’ve had and continue to receive enquiries about the possibility of some of these pieces being made into limited edition prints, so decided to go through them with this in mind, selecting those that I think will make good prints.

As well as considering the original works, I was also intrigued as to how a set of prints could be made using some of the pieces from the second half of the book, which is titled The Reverse Is Also True. This section features all the artworks subjected to various negative treatments and printed using the four-colour process over a fifth base printing of metallic silver ink. I chose to explore this five-colour process because I was intrigued to see how the unpredictability of this process would affect and work with the overprinted full-colour images. It also mirrored how my work evolves out of experiments with prepared chance, combining chemicals, solutions, man-made and organic materials. The results from such experimentation are always unpredictable, and while there are the occasional disappointments and failures, for the most part, they are surprising and often revelatory. Working in this way ensures that control is surrendered to the unpredictable nature of the materials, thereby avoiding the known and removing any ego from the work.

Having started life as mixed media works, they were photographed, then converted into the digital, after which they became the source of potential new works in their own right, works that could only have been achieved in the computer, the ultimate collage tool.

I’ve chosen a few of my favourites, which, instead of using the five-colour lithographic printing process as used in the production of the Cargo In The Blood book, are to be printed using the digital eight-colour process, onto a very beautiful iridescent PhotoRag Metallic paper produced by Hahnemuhle, the paper manufacturer whose paper is used for all of the Limited Edition Prints.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to emulate metallic inks on a computer so it’s impossible to show what the finished prints actually look like. You’ll just have to take it on trust that they look wonderful; if they didn’t, they wouldn’t be being offered for sale.

Both sets of these new series, in signed limited editions of 150

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Russell Mills

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