November 2005: Urban Pastoral - photos and recordings - H. L. Godfrey

Launch and preview- Tuesday 1st November 6-8 p.m.

This series of photographs and recordings by H. L. Godfrey is a simple celebration of the contemporary urban pastoral. Each picture of greenery is accompanied by a recording of the transport that was used to get there. The need to find a breathing space, a place to retreat to, is honoured in the pastoral genre. This has traditionally separated town and country, cleaving a divide between the two- the countryside being the idealised half, the city the demonised. Much of the twentieth century is characterised by a rejection of this model with many artists embracing the urban at the expense of its counterpart. Godfrey is part of a contemporary movement that explores how urban spaces and green spaces fulfil the pastoral urge to escape despite their inter-dependence.

The sounds of a city are epitomised by the transport used to ferry its inhabitants around. They are present in nearly every experience of green space whether it.s a park tree or a field by a road. Godfrey points to their mutual reliance and the strange comfort they both bring, reminding the viewer that a green shade is not necessarily tarnished by the mechanics of humanity.

Quote from the artist
“Sometimes I need to top up the green room that I keep in my chest. A short walk past some trees, a cycle round the park, a drive through fields. These small excursions restore my equilibrium. People have been doing this forever. Machines facilitate these wanderings- a bike, a car, a train, a skateboard. If I didn.t use these I would be stuck in one part of the city. Surely they deserve to be recognised as part of the pastoral experience each generation of urbanites enjoy and perpetuate. Most of the time they are forgotten but their sounds are part of the landscape.s make-up. I like them just as much as mooing cows.”