Tuesday 28 Nov 2023 to Sunday 24 Dec 2023
Trench Horses is composed of four large-scale digital works, accompanied by a specially composed musical soundscape, all created by George Rigby.
The installation captures the journey made by over six million war horses between 1914 and 1918. Trench Horses is designed to draw upon the hardship that wildlife endures during human conflict, with the hope of encouraging communities to become more mindful of the collateral damage inflicted upon the natural world.
"When visiting galleries as a child, my attention span was poor, despite plenty of excitement prior to each exhibition. I soon discovered that listening to music whilst I studied each artwork drastically influenced my imagination and concentration. Instead of limiting my thoughts, the music guided me to a deeper response to the paintings and vice versa. The fusion of visual art and music sees the collaboration of two mediums that depend on each other, and in turn, inspire one another.
This concept is designed to communicate with others who share a love for visual art and music. As each visual work only resembles a snapshot in time, the musical narration will enable you to interact with the body of work as an entire story. I wrote the music by fusing original composition with field recordings and tonality. While the tonality provides an emotional core, the field recordings also act as musical devices to create a more vivid soundscape.
The visuals were originally similar sized paintings that were intensely textured with charcoal, grit, and soil to help illustrate the anarchy of trench warfare. The original idea was to have the real paintings on display. When developing the paintings, digital art was new territory for me and I’ve always favored the ability a painting’s texture has to carry emotion. More importantly, a painting’s texture will physically show off its age and what the artist has been through in order to arrive at the painting in front of you. One doesn’t have to read many accounts from WWI to understand how much life changed as a result of it, whether they were included or not, and this was a theme I really wanted to capture in the exhibition. However, I also wanted to create a real sense of alienation, both visually and musically, as it was clear that those who were directly involved underwent changes that separated them from what had been seen before. This is where transforming the paintings to digital works opened up an entirely new layer in the exhibition. It allowed me to warp the images over the length of the soundtrack so that they might be seen with a new interpretation each time you look at them. Moreover, the life depicted in the paintings, although still there, have transformed into something alienated, unrecognizable and misunderstood. Naturally, the emotions I was trying to explore during the process developed and contradicted themselves. This has resulted in a series of developing conflicts amongst the visual work’s layers, which further amplifies and symbolizes the chaotic nature of war."