September 4, 1997 - September 27, 1997
Island: The Sea Front
For three and a half years, Kate Mellor traveled around the coast of mainland Britain, with her Widelux panoramic camera, extremely detailed Ordnance Survey maps, and a compass, taking photographs at exactly every 50 kilometers, determined by the Grid Reference system, always looking towards the horizon. Exhibited in geographic sequence, these prints transform the gallery walls into the coast of Britain, and peer precariously into the imagination of a county.
Mellor writes, “For some time I had been interested in ideas connected to the premise that a culture originates from its geography.” The edge of a coast of a country whose history “hangs as heavy round the neck of its inhabitants as a dead albatross,” could reveal an attitude, connection, and mythology of a country defined by its historical, political and cultural foundations.
“These journeys to the coast have a singular purpose; to seek clarity of mind, to reach out and grasp the great ungraspables; to let the space and the sharpness of the light illuminate some obscure, cluttered corner of the mind. Staring outwards, the horizon marks the very limit of our vision, it signifies a barrier which can neither be reached nor crossed; the line between Britain and Aboard; the line between the self and the other; the line between the known and the unknown. This is why people come to ask questions. If they stare at the horizon for long enough, they hope to be able to see far enough to find the answers that always lie too far out.”
Her exhibition was assisted by The British Council, with production supported by Yorkshire and Humberside Arts.