Black Sun, Blue Light – moving image & installation by Patricia Townsend

21 November 2018 – 3 February 2019

A star-like object moves in the dark space of the Blue Gallery whilst in the Garden Annexe, the sky has shattered into a cairn of shards. Patricia Townsend is an artist working with the moving image, photography and installation. Her work explores our relationship with landscape – the ways in which landscape can affect us emotionally and the stories we construct by projecting our own beliefs, expectations and desires onto our surroundings.

Townsend has shown her work regularly over the last 20 years in both solo and group exhibitions. In recent years she has moved from a predominantly photographic practice towards work with the moving image, including installations. Black Sun is her first 4K (Ultra-High Definition) video.

Howard Hull, Director of Brantwood, sums up the aims of the exhibition: “I am delighted to welcome Patricia Townsend back to Brantwood. Although her two installations transcend literal interpretation, the timing of the exhibition is significant. They will focus our audiences on the power of light and dark at the time of the winter, and provide cogent symbolism to usher-in a year-long celebration of the birth of John Ruskin. Ruskin’s life was marked by an extraordinary clarity of vision and a deeply troubled soul, reflected in his ecstatic love of skies and his deep depression at signs of man-made climate change. Patricia’s work is powerful and invites contemplation. Being able to host contemporary work of the highest quality in a historic setting allows Brantwood to bridge the space between works which were contemporary when Ruskin hung them on the wall and the work of artists today. ‘To-Day’ was Ruskin’s motto.”

Black Sun shows a planet-like object slowly moving towards and away from the viewer, subtly changing as it does so. It calls for particular viewing conditions to appreciate the very slow and strange changes in the image. ‘The Transience of Wonder’ is an installation of 50 ‘shards of sky’ created by mounting narrow sections of photographs of the sky under thick perspex. They will be suspended in a floating cairn in the Garden Annexe at Brantwood. A prototype was shown at the Slade in 2017.


Talk: The Making of Black Sun, Blue Light, 31 January 2019

Patricia Townsend talks about the ideas behind Black Sun, Blue Light, tracing her journey from initial inspiration to the final works in their setting at Brantwood.  The talk begins at 7.30pm, doors open at 7.00pm.  Tickets £7 which includes a glass of wine on arrival.  Pre-concert supper can be booked at the Terrace (


Further information:
  • Open daily 10.30 am to 5.00 pm (closed Mondays and Tuesdays during mid November to mid March, as well as Christmas & Boxing day
  • Admission is included in the house & garden ticket; House & Garden: Adult: £7.70; Child: Free (aged 5 – 16); Student: £6.00; Infant/Junior School Groups: £1.20 ; Secondary School Groups: £5.25 (Free for adult helpers and teachers); Garden only tickets cost: Adult: £5.35; Child: Free; Student: £4.30
  • Location Brantwood, Coniston,  Cumbria  LA21 8AD
  • For more information please call  015394 41396; email: