Sombourne Chalk Quarry: Hampshire

Last weekend I visited Sombourne chalk quarry in Hampshire to choose the chalk I need for my next exhibition. After several conversations with Mark Yorke who owns and runs the quarry single handily.

 Ben and I drove down with plastic boxes in the boot and began selecting the chalk from the various different shapes and sizes from large boulders to dust.

Throughout the quarry, the chalk is divided into different sizes according to it's use. 
The dust to 20 is used for agriculture to line the flooring for cow sheds. 
Chalk is also used within the building trade for construction work such as building or lining river banks.
The larger blocks some weighing up to a tonne are often used for larger projects or art works. It's interesting to find out how this material is utilised but also the handling processes involved in the quarry itself. It's removed from the landscape in metre levels according to the natural seam lines.  

The quarry is normally only in working order during the summer months as it's an impossible task to work with such a dusty material during the wet winter. In many ways it's fairly similar to the way clay pits function.
Where industry is very much dependant upon the weather conditions and seasonal cycles.

Image taken by Ben Winkley 2015

Whilst I was there we filled two boxes of dust to 20 and a further two boxes of the larger chunks which can be seen in the forth image here. 

When we arrived brilliant sunshine was beaming down into the quarry. 
This was a new experience! 

I had never been into such a space that was saturated by the colour white before. 
With the addition of sunshine it becomes blinding but also quite invigorating. 
You realise how powerful it is and the spiritual connections white carries with it. 

It's something I've been interested in for a while now and White ultimately plays a huge part in this current piece of work but it's so rare that you find yourself immersed within a natural landscape surrounded by one solid colour. 

Flint is embedded within the chalk and has to be removed by hand this type of flint is quite rare with the white skin and dark black interior and is only found within this locality. When you visit Winchester flint has been used in many of the older buildings some of the interior walls within the theatre have been lined with it.

I brought one piece away with me which I intend to include in the final process display in October.

Please follow the link to take a look at the quarry as there are very few chalk quarries left in the country anymore and it's quite a special place and a big thank you to Mark for all his help.

Richard Serra at the Gagosian Gallery London 2014

The last time Richard Serra was exhibiting in London was back in 2009 
Five years on the Gagosian gallery nestled in between the streets near Kings Cross in Britannia Street is host to another breathtaking exhibiton of Richard Serra'a gigantic steel structures. 

Room One

You are confronted with two large sheets of steel wedged into the edges of the room one balanced on top of the other with the smallest point of contact. This is something Serra seems to be able to effortlessly achieve. The interaction of two structures combining weight, density, counter balance and the engineering of materials. 

Room Two 

Comprised of a series of steel rectangles positioned very much like a maze,
allowing you to walk through and interweave in between these structures. Each and every angle opens up into a different view point or perspective within the work and the space. 

Room Three

For those familiar with Richard Serra's works this is a structure that you recognise however, the outer appearance of these huge imposing forms always provide an element of surprise once you enter inside. These works have to be experienced, from first glance you may make the assumption that you are simply going to be entering a darkened tunnel space. Part of that is true but these forms have been designed with much more consideration the subtle changes within the curves the undulations on one side, the quality of light and the distortion of sound. 

All of these elements combined can throw the senses off balance. 
You enter with a sense of wondering and the journey through this contained space is changing with each step. The difference with this particular piece is that it is completely closed at the top making the experience more claustrophobic. 

This exhibition is on until 28th Feb 2015 
for anyone interested in large scale works the human senses and spatial works this is not to be missed.