Unsettling Landscapes: The Art of the Eerie


Book details
112 pages /  270 x 210mm
ISBN: 978-1-911408-83-3

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  • An investigation into a surprisingly rich vein of eerie and unsettling landscapes made by British artists over the last 100 years
  • The first published study of this aspect of British landscape art
  • Over 70 works by some of the biggest names in British landscape art
  • Introductory essay by Robert Macfarlane one of our greatest contemporary writers on landscape

This book reveals a thread of unsettling takes on the British landscape stretching from paintings, prints and photographs made by Paul Nash in the aftermath of the First World War to contemporary artists exploring themes of memory, belonging, hauntology, dislocation and human impact on nature. In his introductory essay Robert Macfarlane explains that the eerie ‘involves that form of fear which is felt first as unease then as dread, and it tends to be incited by glimpses and tremors rather than outright attack. Horror specialises in confrontation and aggression; the eerie in intimation and intimidation.’ Macfarlane suggests that eerie art has often flourished at times of crisis, as seen in the work of Neo-Romantic artists around the time of the Second World War.

The works featured in the exhibition are grouped around four overlapping themes: Ancient Landscapes – features that are inexplicable and mysterious, connecting us to the unknown distant past; Unquiet Nature – landscapes and natural forms used to unsettling effect, such as trees, lonely expanses of heath and the borderlands where different worlds meet; Absence/Presence – how the inclusion (and absence) of figures and objects can generate feelings of the eerie through mystery, suggestion and isolation; Atmospheric Effect – the influence of weather, season, light and the time of day on responses to landscape.

Historic Artists represented include Paul Nash, Graham Sutherland, John Piper, Monica Poole, Henry Moore, John Craxton, Edward Burra and Michael Ayrton. Among those contemporary artists taking part are George Shaw, Ingrid Pollard, Elizabeth Magill, Paul Kershaw, Jeremy Millar, Jeremy Gardiner, Laurence Edwards, Sara Hannant, Blaze Cyan and Annie Ovenden. Also featured is artwork from Ghost Box ‘a record label for a group of artists exploring the misremembered musical history of a parallel world’ whose eerie recordings and design ethos have been influencing the contemporary concept of hauntology since 2004