Ten stellar artists and writers. One theme to bind them all.

A thought-provoking show of internationally acclaimed artists and writers will open at Bank Street Arts in Sheffield in September and run throughout the month. The contributors will broadly total ten with one element to unite them and to bind them all: the works of JRR Tolkien. Forming part of the Opening up the Book book arts festival the exhibition is set within a busy programme organised by Bank Street Arts with support from Sheffield Hallam University, Arts Council England and other contributing organisations.

Independently curated by Artist John Cockshaw, EVIL IN THE SHINING LIGHT splits across two gallery spaces and makes primary reference to JRR Tolkien’s Middle-earth sagas The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.  The featured artists joining John will be Soni Alcorn-Hender, Tomas Hijo, Jay Johnstone, Tsvetelina Krumova, Ted Nasmith and Katarzyna Chmiel-Gugulska and all reveal a distinctive position in the arena of Tolkien-inspired Art in addition to a scholarly and contemporary approach to fantasy art as a genre as a whole. Print, graphite, paint, photography and calligraphy feature in a selected group show that delves into JRR Tolkien’s enormously influential and beloved writing. Guest contributors include Writer Marcel Aubron-Bülles and Leeds-based Archaeologist Shaun Richardson who will extend the scholarly content of the show in interesting and unexpected ways. “It isn’t about claiming to say anything that hasn’t been said about JRR Tolkien before. It is about a love for Tolkien’s writing along with a diversity of approach and a variety of inspiration. The relationship of the art to the title EVIL IN THE SHINING LIGHT is often literal and straightforward yet other times much more complex and conceptual.  It is always rooted in the inspiration of the book(s)” says curator John. The space, much akin to hobbit-dwelling dimensions, will actively assist in teasing out the connecting threads between the artists through shared proximity and the Tolkien-inspired Art will be displayed in one gallery room with a connecting chamber to an adjoining art/screening room. The second element of the exhibition takes both a connected and diverging focus. A small collection of prints will make reference to Film composer Howard Shore’s magnificent film score to The Lord of the Rings via the analytical book on the music by author and musicologist Doug Adams. The art and accompanying explanatory text originally featured in an extended illustrated article by John Cockshaw appearing in Film Score Monthly Online magazine over two issues in late 2014 and early 2015. “Shore’s music for The Lord of the Rings, and given that the composer is known for reading Tolkien in his youth, can be seen as an interpretation of the story in its own right and is so meticulously planned in instrumental, structural and choral terms that it becomes hard not to be swept away by its majesty. The art needed to reference musical ideas/structural choices in music that came evenly from Howard Shore’s music and Adams’ scholarly spotlight without referencing the movies in any overt visual sense. The art had to absorb many elements whilst also possessing its own style.  It was a challenging and brave project, with the aim of producing something unique,” said Curator John.  An art volume of Tolkien-inspired art and an illustrated book of poetry by Janet Nelson-Alvarez will be available to browse at the exhibition (Oloris Publishing). In association with Indie publisher Luna Press Publishing, John Cockshaw and Writer Robert S. Malan will screen a 12minute short video collaboration THE SIGN OF THE SHINING BEAST at the gallery; a project that combines fantasy/SF genress with the look of the graphic novel book format.  The video project will be developed as a graphic novel/photography book slated for release by Luna Press at the Mancunicon Sci-Fi convention, Central Manchester in 2016.  “With The Sign of the Shining Beast video screening there are more influences at play other than Tolkien but there exists a very definite line of influence nonetheless.  Myself and Rob take inspiration for starters and that feeds itself in loving homage to the imagery and text choices.  Enthralling and enigmatic, the imagery of Sign lure the viewer closer in dream-like waves intentionally making reference to the experience of looking into a Palantir, looking into Galadriel’s mirror, the experience of being in the Wraith-world and touching upon notions of prophecy and far-reaching sight.” John Cockshaw and Robert S. Malan will be talking about various aspects of the exhibition and their projects with Luna Press to the SFFN at a publicized event on Saturday 19th September.