Epiphany

‘minor axioms of major importance’

In October 2019 I travelled to the Lake District in the North West of England, my first visit for some years. Accommodation was a rented cottage overlooking lake Coniston whose waters reflected the tones and activity of the overarching skies; one moment aggravated by the falling rain, in another glinting back transient sunlight from whence it came. On the far shore stood a grand country house, at dusk the golden lights from its windows calling out invitingly when not obscured by autumn mist. This is Brantwood, former home of John Ruskin and the catalyst for the visit, for a few weeks home to Russell Mills’ installation, Happenstance.

The experience lives up to all expectations. Vast canvasses have been submitted to diverse chemical processes, layers of accident creating abstract landscapes that inexplicably capture the essence of the surrounding natural environment, both elemental and beautiful. Some of the works have been partially cut up into tiny squares and reassembled as mosaics. Man seeking to impose order on that which chance created. Other pieces incorporate tape measures, referencing our irresistible drive to codify everything we encounter. The atmospheric soundtrack created by Mills and Mike Fearon envelops the viewer as each piece is contemplated.

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