Quotations of fellow moon scientists lie along side, illustrating how the sun may keep our planet going with energy but it is the moon that fascinates so deeply. James Ferguson describes (1747) how the Harvest Moon offers ‘more time for gathering in the Fruits of the Earth.’ As you read Herschel’s 1787 account of ‘3 volcanoes in the moon’ and browse the established moon reference texts, find your sea of tranquility in this cool calm and collected exhibition space. The accuracy to which Russell works becomes illuminating to him; he records his surprise at the intense contrast of light and shade at the edges of the moon surface. The precision of his measurements enables Russell to compile a globe of the moon and the resulting fascinating sphere is on display. Galileo’s description of the moon (1610) as ‘sprinkled with azure eyes’ and having structures like ‘ice cups’ prepares the viewer for Rebecca Hind’s more recent depictions of the moon.
The effect the moon has on the earth’s water bodies is reflected in Rebecca Hind’s choice of medium, watercolour. The fluid nature of Hind’s brush strokes is captured in a short film ‘Ebb and Flow’. Hind develops a technique of drawing down the moon using this transparent medium. Hind’s large painting ‘Long Night Moon, Floating’ is mesmeric. Displayed so it hits the viewer from a distance, this intense watercolour is an arresting image. Through her watercolours Hind follows the lunar phases and hence the passage of time as periods through the moon’s progress. This temporal theme also lies in Russell’s scientific diagrammatic sketches which are each labelled with a specific time such as ‘July 10, 8 O’clock even’. This appears to be a quality now common in contemporary Art, reminiscent of Gillian Wearing’s ability to catch a moment in time. Russell’s large pastel drawing of the moon (1795) shares the three-dimensional qualities seen in Hind’s large watercolours. Both Artists present work that is truly spellbinding and so deeply magical it is no wonder people on occasions are drawn to howl at the moon!