This one day art event was well worth attending. Launched by the same group of artists – Thom Snell, Richard Cartright and Jas Davidson,  who gave us the ground-breaking Torque exhibition at the Willow in January 2012, when the gallery was transformed back into a car showroom.

With RURAL,  one was, at first content to imagine that artists had simply taken the idea of the outside rural space and transported it, albeit slightly altered,  into an inside space – an original twist in itself.The space was not a gallery, but a gallery-type/artist’s studio space in a large empty shop in Oswestry.

After smelling and walking across the real turf, seeing the life-size soft sculpture (by Dorcas Casey ) of a well endowed sow sitting upright in Orwellian splendour upon an erstwhile grand, albeit faded, leather chair, and taking a close look at Richard Cartright’s “Smell of the Country” – crumpled well-used wax jackets behind glass – one might be forgiven for holding to that original imaginary view.


However, this event was much more than that. Yes the countryside had been persuaded to take a closer step towards art, and art itself had taken a leap into experimental simultaneous mark and sound-making of which even Tinguely would have been proud.

Instead of the expected sounds of cattle lowing, ducks quacking and milk pails clanking, we were treated to countryside-like sounds that one could not recognise. Strange amplified scratching and rubbing sounds filled the air, but there was no indication to show us where they might have been coming from.

Amy Sterling and London artist Daniel Michael Clark

were quietly sketching at a table, Amy’s delightful countryside prints hung suspended nearby,  Thom Snell was crouched near the ground over some paper and surrounded by crayons and other art materials,  and some pens and felt tips hung suspended above the paper. But these pens were moving and dancing about……

Intrigued we asked what the sounds were and how they were being produced. The volume was increased and we realised that the pens were suspended above an amplifier covered in paper, (over which the pens were suspended), which, in turn,  was connected to the underside of the table  across the room where Amy and her friend were busily drawing. So the act of drawing produced sound which in turn activated mechanical drawing of a different type……We were hearing the SOUND OF DRAWING!

Altogether a very thought-provoking event.

(Can’t imagine what these guys will think up next – but it’ll be well worth attending!)