STAGE by Dorothy Cross

18 may 2008

The Unitarian Church, High Street, Shrewsbury
14 June – 26 July 2008
Tuesday – Saturday 12.00 – 4.00pm

Commissioned by Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery and mediamaker for the launch of the Shrewsbury Darwin200 celebrations

Dorothy Cross, an artist with an international reputation, was invited by Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery to undertake a commission to make new work responding in someway to ‘…the life and ideas of Charles Darwin’.

After visiting Shrewsbury and embarking on a period of research Cross decided to make a return visit to the Galapagos Islands (a place she had visited some 12 years previously) to gather footage and sound recordings from which to create a number of new video works. She invited actor Fiona Shaw (a childhood friend and occasional collaborator) to accompany her and to join in the process of exploring current conditions on the Islands and to reflect, in that context, on the evolution of art itself and the role for artists within a world facing increasing environmental and cultural changes.

Cross describes their experience of theGalapagos Islands: ‘It is a place that existed in harmony without human history. The arrival of man is accelerating change and threatening the balance of its ecosystem. Our time there led to us discussing the evolution of ones own practice as visual artist and actor and the location of art in such a place…’

As an integral part of the commission, Cross was invited to consider a range of Darwin related non-gallery spaces in Shrewsbury in which to create an exhibition of the new video works. Her chosen venue was the small Unitarian Church in the town-centre which Darwin attended regularly as a child along with his mother. A further influence on the mind of the young Darwin came through the Unitarian Minister at that time, Reverend G. Case, who, from 1817-18, was his first schoolmaster.

STAGE marks the launch of the Shrewsbury Darwin200 celebrations which, from June 2008 and throughout 2009, commemorate the bi-centenary of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species.

For further information please contact:
Adrian Plant, Exhibitions Officer, Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, Barker Street, Shrewsbury SY1 1QH
Tel: 01743 361196
Email: [email protected]

Notes to Editors

  1. Charles Darwin’s theories of evolution were greatly informed by his experience of visiting the Galapagos Islands during his voyage on The Beagle, 1831-36
  2. Cross’ research and development trip to the Galapagos Islands was as the first artist in residence funded by the Gulbenkian Galapagos Artists’ Residency Programme, run by the Galapagos Conservation Trust. She travelled there with actor Fiona Shaw in April 2007.

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