Oxford Events Calendar

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Parson’s Please and the ponds – history and art exhibition

8 May @ 10:00 am - 25 May @ 4:00 pm

Images of wild swimming are everywhere — from smartphone snaps on social media and professional photographs in glossy magazines, to short films and documentaries.

Parson’s Pleasure and the Ponds takes a step back from this high-res world to reconnect with the bathing place as an arena of aesthetic experiment, and as a social space subject to curious changes from one era to the next.

The exhibition presents a new series of wood engravings by the printmaker Duncan Montgomery, among archive material on the history of freshwater bathing, curated by the cultural historian George Townsend. There is a particular focus on Parson’s Pleasure, a men’s bathing place on the river Cherwell in Oxford, active from the 17th century to 1992; and the bathing ponds on Hampstead Heath in London. The prints explore the lost meanings of these sites through figurative and landscape wood engraving, while referencing early photography and Greek statuary.

This work marks the culmination of a collaboration over three years, including a work-in-progress exhibition, Here: A Fair Resting-Place (2023) in association with the Peltz Gallery at Birkbeck, University of London. Parson’s Pleasure and the Ponds will travel on from the North Wall Arts Centre to the Highgate Gallery in London (7-20 June 2024).

 

Details

Start:
8 May @ 10:00 am
End:
25 May @ 4:00 pm
Event Category:
Website:
https://www.thenorthwall.com/whats-on/duncan-montgomery-george-townsend-parsons-pleasure-and-the-ponds/

Venue

North Wall Oxford
S Parade, Summertown, Oxford
Oxford, OX2 7JN Oxford
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