An exhibtion of painting and photography at Feltham Library.
“Beginning in summer 2018, I came across the remains of a fire on Hounslow Heath. I began documenting the fire, at first with a camera phone and then through painting. I became interested in the surreal landscape created by the destruction of the heath, and the paintings became emotive records.
“On visits thereafter, as the heath recovered, the grass grew back vibrant against the black charcoal ground. I took photos of the charred fence posts and the dead trees. I came back later this summer revisiting the places I had painted. Almost all the signs of the fire had disappeared.
“Fires are not always bad for forested areas. They provide space for new plants to grow. Volunteering with local groups, I learnt more about the fire's potential origin: from glass bottles magnifying sunlight in the heat to people lighting their own fires.”
Regeneration on Hounslow Heathutilises different media, and focuses on the act of walking to document the changing landscape of an important area of public land. At a time when the rights and freedoms of borders are increasingly restricted, Gerald’s work examines the long-term investment in making work in public spaces. Looking at, among other texts, Wanderlust by Rebecca Solnit, his practice looks at how walking and performance can be used together to bring attention to these important issues.
Walking can function as a democratic process for making and experiencing art, a method of peaceful protest and an effective method of raising awareness. Outside and beyond the time frame of galleries, festivals and biennials, can we find a way to use performance and walking to articulate complex social and environmental issues? This exhibition is a continuing project that will look for alternative spaces in which to exhibit and adapt in response to this line of enquiry.
About the artist
Gerald Curtis is an artist working with performance, painting and photography. Graduating from the Performance Pathway at the Royal College of Art in 2017, Gerald has created a practice centred around public spaces, their use and importance. Recently, Gerald has been working with London Creative Network and Photofusion to develop projects using photography as a means to document works that have extended durations beyond conventional exhibition time frames. In particular, he is interested in looking at the process of walking and its uses in public space.