Landscapes from Stone exhibition celebrates 70 years of Geological Survey of Northern Ireland

Date published: 06 December 2017

The Geological Survey of Northern Ireland has this year been celebrating 70 years of public service. During the year it has hosted a series of public events which culminates in an exhibition which will open to the public at W5 from Saturday 9th December until the end of March 2018.

(l to r) Artists Hugh Crilly, Anna Crilly and Jane Hunter
(l to r) Artists Hugh Crilly, Anna Crilly and Jane Hunter

From changing seasons to changing lights, sunny aspects to dizzy heights; for centuries artists and photographers have used the landscape as their muse.

The public will be able to view a series of stunning landscape photographs, a range of geological maps dating from 1840 to the present day, and three specially commissioned artworks. 

Each county of Northern Ireland along with Belfast is pictured which mirrors the Lonely Planet 2018 No 1 'best region to visit' recommendation which includes Belfast and the Causeway coast. 

Across its 14,000 square kilometres, Northern Ireland lays claim to the most diverse geology on the planet and the connection between rocks which sweep across to Scotland as part of the Caledonian terrane are celebrated in a bespoke tweed geological map created using both Scottish Harris and Mourne Textiles Tweeds by Scottish artist Jane Hunter.

Northern Ireland's geology is so unique that it boasts a host of designations. For example, the UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS) at the Giant’s Causeway and coast is based on geology. Only two per cent of World Heritage Sites are based on geology! This outstanding area is featured in the commissioned artwork by Glasgow-based Anna Crilly using materials that give the Causeway a very contemporary treatment. 

There are 150 NIEA Areas of Special Scientific Interest based on earth science alone in Northern Ireland. The third specially commissioned artwork by Belfast artist Hugh Crilly highlights our relationship with the landscape and how we have harnessed rocks for dry stone walling and used glacial erratics for burial stones and monuments. 

Notes to editors: 

Information on the artists

Hugh Crilly

After leaving Belfast College of Art and Design, Hugh Crilly worked as a technical illustrator in DeLorean for nearly three years. Following the closure of the company, he retrained in cartography with the Ordnance Survey before eventually joining the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland in 1991 until early retirement in 2016.

Anna Crilly

Anna Crilly is an artist, milliner and costume maker. She graduated from Glasgow School of Art with a First Class BA(Hons) in Fine Art, Painting and Printmaking. She is currently finishing her HND in Fashion Design and Manufacture and was the Co-Director of Glasgow Open House Arts Festival 2017.

Jane Hunter

In 2013, after eleven years working in local government, Jane Hunter took a leap into the unknown to re-discover her love of making art. Later that year, following a chance encounter with a keen eyed gallery owner in Perthshire, Jane was thrust into the spotlight with her first solo exhibition - “The Cloth, The Land, The Earth”. Since then Jane has continued to seek a deeper understanding of the forces which shape our landscapes. She credits such geologists, cartographers and artists as William Smith, Ben Peach and John Horne for unlocking the mysteries of the earth beneath our feet.

The series of photographs are courtesy of Tourism NI.

W5 is open daily from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm and normal admission rates apply for access to this exhibition.

For media enquiries please contact the Department for the Economy Press Office on 028 9052 9604 or Outside office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned.

Follow the Department of Economy on Twitter @Economy_NI


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