A TEMPORARY ARTWORK has been installed to help bring to life a 320 million year old story of magma and rocks in the beautiful landscape of Teesdale.
The North Pennines AONB Partnership has commissioned artist Rob Mulholland to create a temporary visual artwork which will be installed at Low Force, responding to the geology of this special part of Teesdale. Natural Creation is based around highly polished metal figures and shapes in which you can see yourself and the landscape reflected together. It is part of a three year programme of new work supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and a range of other funders, in this case Arts Council England, celebrating and building on the North Pennines’ UNESCO Global Geopark designation.
The geology of Low Force has a story which goes back over 320 million years, to the Carboniferous Period of Earth history. Millions of years of changing climates and environments created alternating layers of limestone and sandstone rock, sometimes with a layer of shale. 295 million years ago, in the early Permian Period, molten magma welled up in the Earth through cracks and fissures in the layered rocks and spread out in a roughly horizontal layer between the Farne Islands and Teesdale. It never reached the surface (or we’d have had a volcano in the North Pennines) but instead it cooled underground for around 50 years, forming a hard, flat-lying layer that the old miners called the Whin Sill. Over the nearly three hundred million years since then, the rocks above the Whin Sill have been weathered and eroded away by Earth processes. Where the hard, erosion resistant Whin Sill crops out across the course of rivers, it forms the lip of waterfalls like at Low Force and High Force, just upstream.
Artist Rob Mulholland said: “Natural Creation celebrates the creative power and majesty of nature. My installation imagines the geological forces shaping and forming the land over millions of years. My aim is to reflect the dynamic forces at play in nature through the representation of the Whin Sill forcing its way through the ground. The mirrored figures represent our innate connection with our natural environment. They stand passively guarding the elements; a vestige of our past and a mirror to our future.”
Director of the AONB and UNESCO Global Geopark, Chris Woodley-Stewart, said: “Rob’s work gets us to look at the landscape and our place in it in a different way. It is a talking point and we hope people will come from all over to see the work and the fantastic Teesdale environment in which it is set. We’d like to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England for supporting this work and helping us encourage more people to discover and enjoy this landscape and support the local economy.
“We’d also like to thank the Raby Estate for allowing us to install Natural Creation here on the banks of Low Force.”
The installation will be in place on the north bank of the Tees at Low Force, from 12 July to mid-October. Parking is available at the North Pennines AONB Partnership’s Bowlees Visitor Centre, with a five to ten minute walk to the artwork. To share your images of Natural Creation on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, please use the hashtag #lowforceart.