Despite his name, Hamish Fulton is a London born-artist (1946), but he left the city, its buildings, its noise, pollution and its chaos behind him in his career as a ‘walking artist’, exploring landscapes across the world which are recorded in his exhibition ‘A Decision to Choose Only Walking’ on show earlier in the year over the two floors of the Parafin Gallery in London, starting with a 47-day long walk from Duncansby Head at the most northern part of Scotland to Land’s End at the most southern part of England in 1973, a journey of over 800 miles. Interestingly, when I looked on Google maps, they could provide a walking route (at 269 hours – presumably without breaks), they could not provide any route by public transport for this journey, so walking does seem to have its advantages!
Fulton has walked all over the world, using his art as a focus for spirituality, connectivity and protest to highlight environmental and societal issues such as climate change, the Chinese occupation of Tibet and the challenges of the native nations in countries such as Australia and the United States and America.
Fulton’s powerful work with its strong focus on the dynamic beauty of nature contrasts with that of another British artist, Fred Sorrell (born almost 40 years later than Fulton in 1984), which was the next exhibition at Parafin with ‘Long Tide’, and who, in a different and more geometric way, also links with the beauty of nature, with his exhibition looking out over the streetscape of London before it closed because of the coronavirus restrictions and the streets became deserted. Like Bridget Riley before him, Sorrell strips natural subjects down into geometrical shapes – which you can also see in some of Fulton’s mountain formations – and with a variety of changing colours, tones and shades, representing the beauty of the natural world.