I stopped to see this exhibition during a recent visit to the Fox Talbot Museum in Lacock. In the words of the artist:
“Drawn To The Land is an ongoing and exploratory project which takes an intimate look at the contemporary Scottish landscape through the eyes of the women who are working, forming and shaping it.” (Gerrard, no date)
I actually enjoyed this exhibition a lot more than I had anticipated. To be honest, the subject matter didn’t overly appeal to me, and it wasn’t until I started reading the associated profiles (those describing the lives and the responsibilities of the individual female farmers), that I really got into it. It actually provided a fascinating insight into a topic that I had never really thought about. In that sense, it reminded me of Martin Parr’s Rhubarb Triangle series, in that it presented an interesting overview of a regional story, little known to outsiders.
What I particularly liked about Gerrard’s project, was that you could almost feel a connection between the artist and her subjects. It was a very sympathetic portrayal that I suspect was somehow strengthened by it being a story about women told by another woman. Although I’m not entirely sure what it is that makes me feel this way. Perhaps, it is in the eclectic images selected by the photographer to represent each woman’s story, which show not only contextualised portraits of strong women, but the small domestic details of their homes. Maybe it is the juxtaposition of seemingly disparate aspects of these women’s lives, that leave the viewer feeling like they’ve learned something intimate about them.
Gerrard (no date) Drawn to the land [online]. Available at: https://www.sophiegerrard.com/work/drawn-to-the-land/. Accessed on 28/11/2016.