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What is it?

Art on the Rocks is an ongoing experimental project in which 5 artists initially spent a week working in close proximity along a section of the North Devon coastline. The idea was to gather inspiration & materials and allow ideas to develop and bounce back & forth between members of the group. Although we all have an interest in gathering materials from the landscape, this takes many different forms as befits our variety of disciplines from painting to land-art, installation & photography.

Broomhill exhibition     23rd-25th june 2006

Venue: Broomhill Art, Muddiford, Barnstaple, North Devon EX31 4EX. []

The latest stage in this evolving project involved us taking over the conference centre at Broomhill and filling it with a bewildering array of paintings, installations, sculpture and collections.

The aim of this intense 3 day "happening" was to allow our visitors to meet and chat to the artists with the emphasis being on demystifying the creative process.

Despite our disparate artistic backgrounds, we succeeded in putting together a highly coherent show where both the source material and our individual working practices were emphasized and documented in a fascinating combination of work.

We would all like to thank Rinus & Aniet @ Broomhill for their enthusiasm and hospitality during the event, DJs Razzorbox for a musical backdrop on the Friday, and Alan & the North Devon Festival team for their ongoing support and publicity.


Duncan Cameron - collections & installations
[dagcameron (at) hotmail (dot) com]

Duncan with his installation wreckage from SS Collier, sank 1914 dead bumble bee found near Lee Bay


Brenda Whormsley - land art, photography, installations

Brenda amidst her installation of 1111 shells ulva bowls dulse hanging sheet, photographs and painting

The sun was so bright.
In a huge clear rock pool
A rainbow flickered.
I tried in vain to catch it.

Fell in - wet butt!

Tide will be in soon.
The penny stones arranged so intricately.
Dynamic systems are fantastic.

Wondrous tea and banana butties.

After plaiting grass along the wall
I wandered off.
I spent most of the time looking.

Ducks heads are such brilliant colours.

You think you notice stuff but you just don't.

So beautiful here
It's good for my soul.


Claire Winfield - painting

Claire discussing her work with one of our many visitors sandlines woven canvas

For a number of years the main source of my inspiration has come from the coast and in particular the area surrounding North Devon.

Throughout this time my concerns have changed tremendously and I have gone from painting seascapes in the traditional sense to making work that is far more abstract in nature.

Art on the Rocks has given me the opportunity to stop and reflect upon the various stages of development that my work has taken particularly over the last three years.

As a result of this I have come to recognise a strong link between my initial interests in the processes at work along the coast and my current practice, which is now entirely process based and concerns itself only with the work's materiality. It is as if the making of the work has become the work itself.

Despite the diversity of approaches evident in the pieces shown at Broomhill I am keen that they are understood by the viewer to be part of a coherent body of work.


Martin Winfield - photography, installation, soundworks.

Martin with ripple tank installation 42 fragments - cyanotype photogram image diffusion installation

Within the coastal environment I am exploring the sea as a “machine” which erodes and deposits, breaking down and building up layers in a continuous and perpetual process. My work reflects these processes and uses them as a starting point for further investigation.

I use photography as a way of seeing selectively and a means by which detail can be isolated from its context, creating an image which is abstracted rather than representational.

In addition to working within the 2 dimensional medium of photography I am using this project to pursue more experimental avenues; in particular that of creating installations in which the interaction between sound and vision is explored. This involves collecting both images and “found sound” from the natural environment, and then subjecting these to processes which mimic the sea’s effect.

Background - The initial stage     4th - 12th june 2005

The project was first conceived in the late summer of 2004. With the support of the North Devon Festival we decided to plan the exploratory phase for the following June. Festival publicity explained the background to the event and invited people to meet and chat to the artists while they worked along the trail and also at the Lee Bay Hotel each lunchtime.

Although we were all familiar with the region, for most of us this was our first chance to explore in depth the stretch of coastline between Morte Point & Lee Bay. With such a variety of landscape features much of our time was taken up simply getting to know the lie of the land.

Thanks to the many people who met and chatted to us during the week, and particular thanks to the Lee Bay Hotel for their support and encouragement & The North Devon Festival for publicity & signage.

Here are a few snapshots of the artists at work & play along the trail.

The A.O.R. gang sample the delights of Mortehoe BW - it's strange how the orange kelp accumulates in one place! GS - following the contours of a rock
MW - peering at saltlines in the rock DC - explaining the project to a lunchtime audience CW - marking a grid in the shingle

What next?

Although we are coming to the end of the project as originally planned, the individual artists certainly won't be giving up! Much of the work shown at the Broomhill exhibition is still in an experimental stage & we all have plans for further development of the ideas generated over the past year. So watch this space...

Further information

More details on each of the artists can be found on their respective websites. Just click on the link in the individual artist's section above.
If you have any specific queries contact the project coordinator, Brenda Whormsley:
beewhoo (at) yahoo (dot) com.

We can't thank the festival organisers enough for the tremendous encouragement & support which they've offered us since the project's inception!

The 2005 Art on the Rocks brochure. (350k pdf file)

Page last updated: 10th July 2006.     All images & text © the respective artists & martin winfield 2006