The question of where ’public art’ meets ‘land art’ is moot. Is it a question of urban / built versus deep rural locations? Is it a question of scale, or an issue of art historiography? Whatever, land art – the genre – seems to require an epic landscape frame that arguably doesn’t exist in the UK in the same way as it does in the US, although Andrew Sabin’s The Coldstones Cut – opened in September 2010 – belies that reading. There is an echo of large-scale land artists like Walter de Maria / James Turrell in the work, which can be seen from the Toft Gate Lime Kiln car park on the B6265 at Pateley Bridge, Nidderdale, Yorkshire; a large, limestone quarry site, in which one can become immersed.
Quarries themselves are landscapes
that can be disquieting: like scars or wounds in the earth. Of course, true to interpretative routine, Sabin’s piece is said to reference the industrial heritage of the area. Yet the most salient aspect of The Coldstones Cut is somehow its evocation of pagan erotic archaeology; notably the Cerne Giant, but also the Long Man of Wilmington. Thus, into the archive industrial wound comes a kind of Yorkshire lingam, rendered in longform Von Daniken seen-from-the-air style and not without a bleak grandeur.
photo: Paul Harris
Text: Oliver Bennett