A large mixed media painting on canvas of the Dorset Coast as if seen from above the sea south of Portland Bill, with twelve related studies.
Farthing's mixed media painting on canvas represents a topography of Dorset as seen from a hypothetical viewpoint as if above the sea south of Portland Bill and looking towards Yeovil. Within the image we see parts of the underlying geology breaking through the surface contours and the canvas land marked with local architectural and other man-made points of reference.
The painting, whilst being a thoroughly contemporary image, is based on early topographical paintings and panoramas. The method of handling the paint and image refers to a wide range of painting and drawing methods and conventions. These include ordinance survey mapping and perspective drawing as well as various art historical styles.
The title of the work is 'The Knowledge: Dorset' in reference to the mental map a taxi driver builds while travelling around. This is Farthing's own view of Dorset; recognisable landscapes pepper the landscape, while other familiar places are missing. The series of 'thumbnail' sketches on the screen prints of the artist's hand give us clues into the local sites he visited and recorded.
Stephen Farthing was the Ruskin Master of Drawing at Oxford University. He has work in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; The British Council and the National Museum of Modern Art, Japan.
The commission was part of the Bringing the Outside In project and was funded through an Arts Council England Lottery Award.
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