Audiences invited down to earth with exhibition and films

An exhibition exploring our relationship with soil and its influence on our everyday lives has launched in the Peninsula Arts Gallery at Plymouth University.

Soil Culture: Deep Roots presents a series of works by six established international artists who have engaged with soils over many years.

They range from Mel Chin, who uses plants to extract heavy metals from contaminated land, to Claire Pentecost who has refashioned soil into the shape of gold ingots to reflect its true worth.

There will also be works by seven British artists working with soils today – Chris Drury, Andy Goldsworthy, Sandra Masterson, Daro Montag, David Nash, Peter Ward and Adam White – which will be linked to interactive displays and activities which explore the science behind soils.

The exhibition is part of the Soil Culture programme, initiated by the Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World in partnership with Falmouth University to celebrate the UN International Year of Soils in 2015.

It marks the culmination of a three-year programme of cultural events across the South West that encourages visitors to look beyond the surface of earth, mud, dirt and grit to find its underlying beauty and purpose in our existence.

The exhibition, which runs until March 19, will be complimented by a special film series, based around the theme of soil culture, featuring works from Italy, Brazil, Wales and Japan.

The first screening will be in the Jill Craigie Cinema on Monday 25 January with the film being Le Quattro Volte, set in Italy’s Calabria region and featuring four separate takes on the cycles of life. Tickets cost £6.60 (£4.50 concessions), with discounts to users of the Artory App.

Dr Sarah Chapman, Director of Peninsula Arts at Plymouth University, said:

“This major exhibition is the second in the Soil Culture series to be staged at Peninsula Arts, and we hope that it will build on the successes of Dig It shown in early 2015. Deep Roots provides an international context for the whole project, featuring the work of major 20th Century artists who literally broke new ground in developing new ways of working and who subsequently influenced a whole new generation of artists. The accompanying film series also provides visitors with another way of engaging with the wider issues concerning soil and has been selected to provoke and beguile in the way that only film can.”