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Sat 29th May 2021 to Sun 5th September 2021
Sarah Gillespie Exhibition: 'Moth'
Event Type: Event for all

British artist, Sarah Gillespie will present Moth in the Courtyard Gallery at Castle Howard from 29th May to 5th September 2021.

Moth has seen Sarah Gillespie research, draw and engrave common English moths by way of highlighting their dramatic and devastating decline and celebrating their overwhelming importance.

The exhibition will feature all 22 of the resulting mezzotints as well as new work, Gillespie's largest mezzotint to date. Measuring a monumental 2' x 3', it features a Peppered Moth, and marks a stark change to a process that is normally measured in inches and not feet. Sarah will live in the grounds of Castle Howard as part of a month long artist's residency where she will study the moth population and produce new works in response, including ones created publicly during visiting hours.

Frequently considered a pest, moths are deeply unloved by most humans and grossly misunderstood and overlooked in favour of the more colourful daylight dwelling butterflies. However moths are more numerous and more varied. They are a major part of our biodiversity and hold vital roles in the wildlife ecosystem as pollinators, recyclers, and food for bats and beloved songbirds. Since 1914 it is believed that around 62 species of moths have become extinct in Britain alone. Sarah's work draws attention to this catastrophic collapse while tenderly celebrating their unseen nocturnal lives, exquisite diversity, and the poetry of their common English names. Her use of mezzotint - a labour intensive tonal engraving technique used widely between the 17th and early 19th centuries - is key in rendering the nocturnal quality of both the subject matter and the works themselves. It is only through repeated careful and gradual scraping and polishing of the copper mezzotint plate that these soft gradations of tone and rich and velvety blacks are revealed.

Throughout the exhibition there will be numerous bookable events taking place in collaboration with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, highlighting the importance of moths in the natural world. As well as talks, the public will be able to join dawn and dusk walks, viewing these elusive creatures in their natural habitat, as well as a weekly online live streamed event that will see Gillespie release moths caught humanely overnight within Castle Howard's grounds. Find out more here.

Entry to the exhibition is via the Stable Courtyard and is free of charge, a gardens ticket is not required.