My Inspiration: Joe McAllister | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Joe McAllister, Lime kilns, 2018

Souter Point is the new exhibition from South Shields artist Joe McAllister, taking place at Newcastle’s Vane Gallery between 8th-17th August. It investigates the landscape around South Tyneside; an important part of the Industrial Revolution, in particular the historical, political, and geological aspects of several large limestone quarries in the region. Here, Joe shares with us the inspiration behind his work.

My work is inspired by the struggle of the conceptualist practice between site based and sculptural work. After gaining copious amounts of interest through my work with abstract landscape painting and the process of creating large amounts of work, the challenge I faced was how to reference the process of what I’m interested in, and how to project the landscape I am interested in.

My work is greatly inspired by the work of land-based artists the likes of Richard Long and Robert Smithson. I found that the complexity that surrounded their work in the 60’s and 70’s still hasn’t been understood or built on since. Struggling to find a way for my interest in landscapes that have been scared by human action and nature and present this documentation using film and images. The presentation of my work is institution styled to create an informative display to translate my time and experience at the site. Using notes and documents to create a ‘nonsite’ style of installation. Something that changed the way I present my work completely was down to the writings of Ann Reynolds. ‘’Reproducing Nature: The Museum of Natural History as Nonsite.’’ The MIT Press Vol. 45, (1988): 109-127. Which questioned if the habitat groups in the Natural History museum are Nonsite installations and the film La Jetee. 

My work has been vastly inspired by the writings of Robert Smithson and his need to document. His extensive information in the essays he wrote leave nothing left to the imagination. Even though his site-based work is remote and often left to decay by the natural forces left upon the work. Something I still find myself battling with my work and how I can change the work from being little more than just a document.

Joe McAllister, Erosion of Limestone, 2018

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