The Earth’s Pencils: Julie Brook in conversation with Alexandra Harris
Autumn Term, sees the return of the Royal Drawing School series of Creative Conversations; online dialogues between artists, curators and writers. Curated by Dr Claudia Tobin, lectures are held Wednesday evenings live on Zoom.
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Julie Brook, 'Firestack Winter Aird Bheag', Hebrides 2016 © Julie Brook
Julie Brook, one of the most original and courageous land artists working today, puts drawing at the centre of her practice. She draws on paper; she also draws on earth, air, fire and water. She draws with charcoal, sand and chalk, ochre from Japan and red haematite pigment from Namibia. Julie will join writer and art historian Alexandra Harris for a conversation that will push the meaning of ‘drawing’ by adventuring amongst lines in the desert, shade shapes, and sculptures that are also sketches.
Julie Brook is a British artist who studied at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford University. For 30 years she has roamed, lived and sculpted in uninhabited and remote landscapes in Scotland: Hoy, Orkney; Jura, West coast; Mingulay and North Harris Outer Hebrides. She has explored the black volcanic desert and Jebel Acacus mountains of Libya and the semi-desert of Namibia. More recently she has been working in stone quarries in Japan in relation to developing her tidal work, Firestacks in The Hebrides, and she is currently working in the marble quarry Querciola in Italy. The nature of light, shadow and structure are expressed in the sculptural forms Brook makes, which are often transient in nature, inspired by and made from the materials of the landscape itself. Brook documents these transformations through film and photography which then become the expression of the work. She is preparing for a major exhibition with Lakeland Arts at Abbot Hall, Kendal and at the Komatsu City Museum in Japan in 2023. A publication What is it that will last? will be published by Lund Humphries to coincide with these exhibitions.
Alexandra Harris is the author of Romantic Moderns, Weatherland, Time and Place, and many essays about British art, literature, and landscape. A Professor of English at the University of Birmingham, she founded the ‘Arts of Place’ network and her book on Sussex and the meanings of place will be published by Faber. She has written recently on calendars, The Georgics, painting after WW1, and on Julie Brook for the forthcoming Lund Humphries volume devoted to her work.
Cover image: Julie Brook, 'Earth drawing, thrown', Otjize, NW Namibia 2011 © Julie Brook