Artists / Dan Sturgis

We first had contact with Dan when he was in residence around 2004 at the Wordsworth Trust not too far from us in Grasmere, hosted by our good friend and supporter at that time, the late Robert Woof (a Wordsworth scholar of note who would constantly hide his disappointment at the literary level of Grizedale and the artists here. His biggest put-down on efforts at writing, was ‘Well, quite a small voice’).

Yet Robert was by nature encouraging and creative in his response to all ideas. With Robert supporting him, Dan was able to put on not only an ambitious exhibition but also to invite French artist Daniel Buren to Grasmere to re-enact his ’seminal’ (as they tend to say about anything old and French) piece Voile Toile / Toile Voile. This was at a time when Buren was far from the flavour of the month he was to become later on the biennale scene. The work was needless to say very stripey indeed and involved lots of boats sailing across Rydal Water with stripey sails.

Dan has connections in the Lake District and was a frequent visitor paying interest in our development and inviting us to do talks at Camberwell College of Arts here he teaches. With the development of our work with the Coniston Institute we wanted to host an exhibition that combined the adjacent Ruskin Museum and the Institute, and with Dan we developed an idea to look at the history of abstraction. This became the 2017 exhibition, 'Against Landscape', a show we toured onwards to the galleries of the Glasgow School of Art.

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