COLLAGE ON VIEW
Mysterious Landscapes: Secrets of the Vale
at the Knoxville Museum of Art in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
17 March-28 May 2023
“The peaceful valley,” wrote William Wilson in 1904, “appears to have had a peculiar attraction for beings supernatural; and for generations its bosky glens and leafy braes have been the reputed haunt of ghosts, fairies, witches, and other beings of an uncanny kind. This sweet, pastoral vale in its nine miles course can boast of scenery unequaled in its quiet beauty, possessing in its woods and waters, its hazelly glens and green-clad hills, everything that can contribute to the making of the finest landscape, while to increase the charm it abounds in the most romantic tales of byegone days.”
Sanquhar is a village on the River Nith, up from Dumfries, down from Glasgow, a former Royal Burgh, home to the world’s oldest working post office and the oldest curling society. The Crichton Family ruled the land from the time of Robert the Bruce until they threw such a lavish party for James VI and I in 1617 that they went bankrupt. A monument in town is dedicated to Covenanters who fought against government interference in religious affairs. A forge on Crawick Water made shovels and other tools. A carpet factory boasted fifty-four working looms at the height of production. Saint Bride’s Church, the Tolbooth, sheep grazing the fields, the castle ruins, rabbits in Queensberry Square. What stories does this mythical landscape hold?
“Mythical Landscape: Secrets of the Vale” is an exhibition by an international group of artists, all of whom traveled to Sanquhar to investigate a sense of place and make artwork that speaks to the rich history and folklore of the region. Artworks reference stories from the past (true or otherwise) and consider the history of the region. Many of the works were shown at MERZ Gallery during Sanquhar’s Festival of Folklore, 22-25 September 2022. The artwork will be the subject of a film by David Rushton and used to illustrate a forthcoming, abridged version of William Wilson’s 1904 book, Folk Lore and Genealogies of Uppermost Nithsdale.
Knoxville Museum of Art
1050 World’s Fair Park Drive
Knoxville, Tennessee 37916 USA