A walk in the countryside
: Exploring memory through painting

  • Bethany Morgan

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Walking as a method for understanding the natural world, and our place within it, has been explored by many artists, writers and poets over the years; the walking companion guides of Alfred Wainwright, the travel writing of Robert Macfarlane and the ‘walking as thinking’ ideology of Rebecca Solnit. The idea of walking in relation to art has seen the work of Richard Long and Hamish Fulton at the forefront of knowledge for many years, with them creating work in direct response to walks they have undertaken. These works are photographic, direct representations of the landscape that prompt memory and experience, and are exhibited after the walk. This thesis will follow in the footsteps of Fulton and Long, but detour from their path to explore walking’s relationship to painting and how it can uncover emotional memory through abstraction. It will consider the argument of Isabelle Graw, of how painting is indexicality, documenting through process how painting can harness emotions and feelings within its brushstrokes and argue that this is perhaps more successful than photography. Much like Fulton and Long, the places chosen to walk within this thesis, Scarborough, Malham and Marsden Moor, are that of nature, most specifically traditional English countryside. The walks are to gain an initial understanding of one’s relationship to these landscapes, which are then subsequently responded to in the studio through painting. Through this process, it is the aim to understand how walking abstracts the landscape, how memory is an internal, emotional response to experience and how walking, memory and painting are cyclically linked together.
Date of Award2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorDale Holmes (Main Supervisor)

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