Sheffield art show looks at city and its relationship to the natural world

A new exhibition at the Millennium Gallery looks at Sheffield’s relationship to the landscape and environment that formed and shapes the city.

Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 9:39 am

Earthbound: Contemporary Landscape from the Roberts Institute of Art (RIA) runs at the Millennium Gallery from August 5 to October 31.

The RIA and Sheffield Museums have come together to put on the exhibition of works from the David and Indrė Roberts Collection.

They say that Earthbound reflects on the natural world, as found in the human imagination, and Sheffield’s own long history of the earth and ground.

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Yto Barrada, Wallpaper - Tangier, 2001. Courtesy of the Roberts Institute of Art and the David and Indrė Roberts Collection

Exhibiting artists include Etel Adnan, Mirosław Bałka, Phyllida Barlow, Yto Barrada, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Theaster Gates and Richard Long. It is the first time that works have been exhibited from the collection as part of the RIA programme.

The exhibition will include selected highlights from the David and Indrė Roberts Collection alongside work from Sheffield’s own collection, and will span landscape paintings, moving image and video installation, sculpture and photography.

Earthbound is framed by Sheffield’s long history of working with the natural environment and the impact the landscape has had on the life of the city - from the geography that gave rise to the 18th-century steel industry to the social housing that populated the skyline during the 1950s and 1960s.

Phyllida Barlow, Untitled: disaster 5, 2010. Courtesy the Roberts Institute of Art and the David and Indrė Roberts Collection. ©Phyllida Barlow

It looks at the current climate emergency, our relationship to the ground beneath our feet and how the fabric of our landscape is changing.

The exhibition has been curated by Ned McConnell for RIA with Louisa Briggs for Sheffield Museums.

Ned said: “We feel that this exhibition is timely, as it asks us to look again, following the past year, at the Earth, its vastness, its role as our home and our responsibility towards it, and our recent renewed connection to Earth, which many of us have felt.”

Louisa added: “Historically, Sheffield is a city shaped by its environment – the steel industry developed here is a direct result of the local topography. Over the last year, our green spaces have offered us comfort and we’ve reflected on our connection to the world around us, and the need to safeguard it, perhaps more than ever before.

"We’re delighted to be working with the Roberts Institute of Art to explore our relationship with the landscape in this timely exhibition at the Millennium Gallery.”