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Place is security, space is freedom: we are attached to one and long for the other.

Space and Place, The Perspective of Experience, Yi-Fu Tuan

I question the relationship between humans and the natural environment, with a particular interest in prehistory. I make journeys, explorations and undertake physical activities, creating images of experience, often large scale and immersive. Since suffering a hearing disability, a deep interest in the experience of sound has appeared in my work. To explore this I received an Arts Council DYCP grant in 2021 - 22. I utilise workshops, exploratory walks, printmaking, drawing, sound and photography to interact with the public and record the natural world. 

In 2121 I received a Developing Your Creative Practice grant from the Arts Council. This grant enables me to undertake a years study to incorporate sound into my practice. Please visit this page to listen to the soundwalk and project work undertaken. 

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Exhibition, 2019, Into The Hills, Mill Bridge Gallery, Skipton

My practice is about a discovery of motives, an encouragement to inspire dialogues through workshops and discussion. I make work that invites intersubjective exchange with the viewer. I make place based work that explores in detail historical perspectives that brings understanding to the present. 

Into The Hills (see exhibitions page for more detail) launched me back into creating new work for exhibition. The room the work was to be placed in was a domestic, wooden paneled, room in one of the oldest houses in Skipton. I wrapped the C 16th walls of the room with an ancient landscape of rock bearing the mysterious weathering marks of ageing millstone grit sandstone.  The room became a metaphor for the internal / external intercourse of the mind.  Loosely based on rocks at a local beauty spot the result was space as a theatre of rock formations, a stage for the presence of man in nature.  I imagined the journey taken to reach this place; an uphill struggle to a summit with grand views. Here the audience is invited to rest before passing on. A continuous passage of feet through the the summit, further wearing the stone down, each contributing in a miniscule way to the cycle of formation of rock on this planet. Time, change and scale acting silently with us as we pass. 

Labyrinth and Art in The Cave workshops

For this project I revisit the cave environment this time with a personal focus on the sensorial aspects of the spaces within the cave.

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Subterranean Form, charcoal on paper, Ann Rutherford

Anthropomorphic calcite formations abound in caves. The dimpled and mottled surface shaped into wavelets, the reflective properties of water encapsulated into the walls we brush past with our bodies. Skin to skin. The hanging form full of weight and dripping water, bodies revealed. Internal passages denote shifting, sliding wet ground. 

Labyrinth is a recreation of a subterranean world, an internal labyrinth, under the earth and in the body, echoing and vibrating, descending through liquid and contorted space.  The cave as a series of corporeal cavities, a journey of sensory experience through dark passages, chokes, vestibules and altering scales. The labyrinth of the inner ear is revealed as a series of twisted chambers with the sensitivity of a vibrating surface in a hollow rift. 

Cave explorations with sound (headphones advised)

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00:00 / 01:18

Derigging Long Churn 

This is the sound of the derigging of the handline from the rift above the Cheese Press. The recording device is 15 metres away from the site of the sound. This demonstrates the distance and clarity with which sound travels underground.

Rutherford_DiccanpotwatercourseArtist Name
00:00 / 00:37

Diccan Pot Water Course

Recorded in Lower Long Churn, this is the distant sound of the force of water surging through Diccan Pot. Diccan links with Lower Long Churn through a tube like passage. This adjacent pot now carries the main water course. Headphones are advised.

Give peat a Chance


With Sarah Smout - this collaborative project has been seed funded by Craven District Council and Settle Stories as part of the Feast artists network, of which we are both a part. We will each create a piece of work or part of a work that is then exchanged with the other, to respond to and be inspired by. The work will be centred on the destructive erosion of the peat bog.  The blanket bog is an incredible carbon sink and defence against flooding in the valleys below, as well as an important wildlife habitat. It is an important feature of the uplands in the area of Craven where Sarah and I are based.

Sound recordings have been taken of the wildlife activity in the bog, as part of the research work; these may also be part of the final exhibition, which will be hosted by the Dales Countryside Museum in 2022. 

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Research Photograph, Ann Rutherford

Sphagnum, sketch, ink on paper, Ann Rutherford

Charcoal and pastel on paper, 1000 Years, Ann Rutherford

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