David Bethell - Contraption: After Telford and Brown

Installation of wood and plants with a film at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery

David Bethell - Contraption: After Telford and Brown

Installation of wood and plants with a film at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery

David Bethell - Contraption: After Telford and Brown

Installation of wood and plants with a film at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery

Contraption: After Telford and Brown

(From Boat, Carriage, Plough and Harrow to Bridge)

Wood and plants

Meadow Arts commission 2017

David Bethell has been commissioned to make a new body of work, to be shown at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, with one part of the work in the Walled Garden.

While Capability Brown and James Paine were sculpting and adorning Weston Park’s vast pleasure grounds, over the hills and only a few dozen miles away, the first furnaces of Coalbrookdale had started to produce huge quantities of iron. The instigators of the Industrial Revolution were looking at the landscape too, but with an eye for engineering and productivity. Soon brand new enterprises would flourish, such as the very first iron bridge. These two essential models, the Brownian idyll and the industrial one, stand in perfect opposition in this particular corner of Shropshire.

David Bethell's latest contraption takes the form of a barge, carriage and agricultural machine all at once. Referencing both Thomas Telford, a leader of the Industrial Revolution, and Capability Brown, he refashions part of his unwieldy machine to build one half of a bridge. The other half is shown in an exact alignment at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery where it is surrounded by other parts of the contraption, selected works from the Museum’s collection and a film retracing the original contraption’s journey.

David Bethell

David Bethell is a UK artist based in Leek, Staffordshire Moorlands and London.

Bethell's work is inspired by landscape and the natural environment, often looking at the contrasts and conflicts of human influences on landscape. His work also looks into our aspirations, desires, and our failure to achieve these unattainable dreams.

He uses a range of media from performance, installation, objects and animation.

David Bethell’s exhibitions include Young Gods, Charlie Smith Gallery, London; Dr Bird Conquering Clouds (solo), Wolverhampton Art Gallery; Do, Undo, Redo, Central Saint Martins MA Show, Kings Cross, London; Things Become Things, Southend (One day show with CSM); Museum of London, London; You're the reason our kids are ugly,  The Foundry;  The Artist and the City, Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke on Trent; Spheres 7 with Chatterjee and Lal, Galleria Continua, Paris; The Artist and the City, AirSpace Gallery, Stoke on Trent; Journeys, Pathways and Track Plans, Spode, Stoke on Trent; Beyond Assemble, Manchester, Mark Devereux Projects and Castlefield Gallery; Worcester Open 2013, Worcester Museum and Art Gallery; Poolside Emergency, Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool,; Conquering Clouds, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton; Shadows on the Sun, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton; WEYA – Park in Progress, Nottingham Castle, Nottingham; Derbyshire Open, Contemporary Programme, invited artists, Hartington and Rednile Factory Nights, Garden Festival Site, Stoke on Trent.

www.davidbethell.com