Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The Company of Cranes in Slimbridge

From June 16 - August 05 2013 acclaimed illustrator and metal-worker Melanie Tomlinson will present an exhibition of artworks commissioned by Somerset Art Works, in partnership with The Great Crane Project, to chronicle the re-introduction of the common crane to the Somerset Levels after an absence of 400 years.

‘The Company of Cranes Part One’ exhibition of artworks at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge, Gloucesterhire, is the first of two exhibitions showcasing Melanie’s work. The second will be presented during the Somerset Art Weeks festival, Sept 21-October 06 2013.

Melanie’s vibrant and emotional response to the commission includes beautifully crafted hand-printed steel zoetropes, which animate her journey with the Great Crane Project team as they collected eggs in Germany ahead of their hatching and rearing in Slimbridge. Melanie’s narrative artworks also include finely detailed and colourful gouache illustrations that tell the story of her experiences spent in forest, swamps and flower meadows in Somerset and the Schorfheide-Chorin Biosphere Reserve, Brandenburg.

A screen will show images and short films of wildlife from the environments of both Somerset and Brandenburg and the creation of the artworks themselves. In addition Melanie will exhibit a series of dioramas inspired by bird species from around the world.

“Working on the Crane project has been a very moving and emotional experience,” comments Melanie. “To see Cranes in the wild in Germany and to observe the collection of eggs has put the project into a new context for me. It has also inspired exciting new artworks that I hope reflect the beauty of the project and the landscapes in Somerset and Brandenburg.

“I have made two steel zoetropes for the exhibition at Slimbridge, which I have hand-printed with my own illustrations. The illustrations are very finely detailed, highly colourful and reference my trip to Germany and also cranes in the wild. They were very challenging to make but I thoroughly enjoyed the process of constructing them. I will also be showing a series of photos and short films of the trip to Germany and my research in Somerset on a small screen.”

Alongside her own work there will also be a small display of crane-inspired zoetropes created by pupils at Ash School in Somerset during workshops run by Melanie in May 2013. Together with Somerset Film, Melanie is working to widen the project's reach by developing online resources for schools.

David Brayne RWS - Silver Water 
The exhibition will also include works by David Brayne RWS. Somerset Art Works member artist David Brayne has lived for many years within walking distance of the Somerset Levels. This flat, watery land, which echoes the wide sky and liminal expanses of his south Lincolnshire childhood, touches much of his recent work. Exhibiting a selection of prints, David exhibits regularly at the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition, and his work is held in the Royal Collection. See davidbrayne.wordpress.com