Thursday, 24 October 2013

"Mariners' Way" Ed Crumpton's new exhibition accompanied by Dartmoor duo 'Music on the Edge' Chris Caldwell (sax) & Susie Hodder-Williams (flute) Moose Hall Barnsaple Thursday 10 October 2013

Ed Crumpton
moorland masterpiece
"Moonlit Mariners' Way IV"

Chris Caldwell: soprano saxophone
Susie Hodder-Williams: flute
Back in 2010, husband and wife Chris Caldwell and Susie Hodder-Williams brought together the professional music skills to form 'Music on the Edge'. Chris plays saxophones and clarinets, while Susie plays flutes.

Ed Crumpton
chats with Chris Caldwell
& Phonic FM presenter Martin Hodge
Exeter poet James Turner joined Chris and Susie in November that year for an evening of poetry and music at 'Gallery 36' in Denmark Road, Exeter, called "Time and Distance". James, like everyone who attended, was hugely impressed by the couple's professional skill.

A welcome sight
Chris's bass clarinet
Also in 2010 Chris and Susie brought out an album of instrumental pieces inspired by the 70 mile walking route across Devon from Dartmouth to Bideford - called simply "Mariners' Way". The wonderful sounds of flutes and clarinets were all there, plus gamelan, singing bowl and other exotic instruments to evoke the sights and sounds of Dartmoor and Exmoor (and other locations, e.g. the Hebrides in 'Gigha Quartz').

Susie Hodder-Williams
also takes a break
 Since then 'Music on the Edge' have formed a fruitful association with Deborah Wood's 'Topsham Art Room'. On their first visit they were joined by jazz 'cellist Rick Bolton in May 2011.

lively classics
When Deborah moved the Topsham Art Room to new premises, 'Music on the Edge' were there for the grand opening, in August 2011.

In December 2011, Chris and Susie returned with a new instrumentalist - Emma Welton, violin and double bass.

The following year 'M.O.T.E.' resumed their instrumental adventure, 'Live at the Long Room', first with percussionist Trevor Taylor from London (Feb 2012) and later with Rick Bolton and Emma Welton (Mar 2012).

Pendant art tells the story
of transatlantic cargo
This year another and unexpected connection was made. North Devon artist, Ed Crumpton, was also inspired by the trans-Devon route to create his own "Mariner's Way" - a collection of paintings and sculptures.

While planning the opening of his exhibition at White Moose Gallery in Barnstaple Ed's natural choice of musicians was 'Music on the Edge' and tracks from "Mariners' Way" amongst other classical pieces. The combination of artworks and music was a big draw. A large audience arrived for the opening, including many local artists.

"Me old briney marlin!"
Ed's tarry marlin sculpture
takes on a new shape
'Tarry marlin' rope and other maritime artefacts were combined to create sculptures representing the life of the sailors who walked the Mariners' Way in the nineteenth century. The rope also had personal significance for the artist. Ed had counted the paces to complete the full journey - nearly 150,000 - and for each step he threw a half-hitch into a length of tarry marlin.

Artist Bert Bruins
points an ink-stained finger
to his own studio at Northam
Ed could only handle 200 metres of rope at a time - and thirty times that amount were needed to complete the record. The resulting, somewhat shortened, knotted cord was formed into a splendid sculpture on a solid steel ball, which was exhibited at Exeter University earlier this year.

For the "Mariners' Way" exhibition, Ed unravelled the ball and rewound the rope on a new former, to make a new shape - an Atlantic blue marlin!

The colour blue also features prominently in Ed's oil paintings - the smell of which added an extra nautical twang. Not only his seascapes, but also his moorland panoramas, are built up in monochrome white and ultramarine.

Ed Crumpton
paintings conflate moor and sea
While emphasising the link between sea and landscape, the colour beautifully reproduced the effect of Devon's winter moon. Some of the pictures are deliberately ambigious. What looks like the restless ocean could equally be a broody view of Dartmoor or Exmoor.

Ed's exhibition is open for another month, closing on Saturday 23 November. It is necessary to make an appointment to visit on Sundays, but on all other days the White Moose Gallery is open to the public from 11am to 7pm.

Moose Hall is in Trinity Street (opposite Barnstaple bus station)
Telephone: 01272 379872

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