See rural life in a different light at Compton Verney

Peter Kennards Haywain with Cruise Missiles, painted in 1980. Picture: Tate, Peter Kennard
Peter Kennards Haywain with Cruise Missiles, painted in 1980. Picture: Tate, Peter Kennard

Compton Verney’s 2017 season opens with a major exhibition examining the rural idyll, past and present.

Bringing together Old Masters and contemporary artists whose work spans nearly four centuries, Creating the Countryside is an exploration of the artistic, social and political forces that have informed notions of our ‘green and pleasant land’.

The exhibition examines our perctions of rural life and landscape, as historic works sit alongside contemporary pieces by painters, photographers, sculptors and even video game makers.

Works by artists including John Constable, Thomas Gainsborough and George Stubbs are joined by pieces from Grayson Perry, Mat Collishaw and Anna Fox/Alison Goldfrapp to present innovative pairings which offer new perspectives on our relationship with the countryside.

Curator Verity Elson said: “As more of us live in towns and cities, the idea of the countryside as a restorative place of escape shapes the popular image of the landscape.

“The exhibition offers the opportunity not only to explore where these associations come from and how they have been expressed by artists over the centuries, but also to think about how these imaginative connections to the countryside are reflected in the world around us, whether that’s in advertising, nature writing, magazines or on television.”

“In bringing together such a wide range of works to explore the idea of the countryside both past and present, we hope to broaden the view and draw attention to the images that surround us - perhaps also acting as a starting point for wider debates.”

The exhibition runs from March 18 to June 18. Visit www.comptonverney.org.uk for details.