Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Nigel Cox - Hill Ponies

Saturday 3rd August – Sunday 18th August

10am-5pm    Weekends only

Wrapped in 10,000 years of history the old hill fort of Carn Goch sits on a spur of the Black Mountains above the Towy Valley.  There have been hill ponies here longer than humans.  On a misty day they loom briefly into view, then disappear again, rather like our own connections to the past.

Nigel is focused on the interrelationships between the history of Wales and its landscape.  These photographs highlight semi-wild ponies that roam the ancient hill forts at Carn Goch, the largest hill fort in South Wales.  There have been ponies there for thousands of years, originally running wild, then becoming domesticated by our ancestors.  These sturdy animals were then used as pit ponies when the mines started.  Now they run free again, doing valuable service in crushing the invasive bracken with their sharp hooves, but the future is uncertain.  Ponies now sell for just a few pounds, and may soon become uneconomical to keep.

More recently he has focused on ruined farm buildings.  Stone barns and farm houses blended into the landscape of the hills.  The landscape is reclaiming them, their ruins speaking eloquently of rural depopulation and decline.

His style has been influenced more by painters than photographers.  Particularly the German Romantic style, imported by artists such as Turner, and known for its value of humour as well as beauty.

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