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Minilithic by Alex Murdin a pop up exhibition April 5th - 10th 2023

We are looking forward to welcoming our third pop up guest, local artist Alex Murdin, who is coming to take over our shop on the 5th until the 10th April 2023. For about a year Alex has been drawing the stones that make up some of the lesser known Bronze Age stone circles and rows on Dartmoor.

Dense black lines describe a mass of granite rock, digitally drawn but looks like pen and ink. All in black and white, a tree growing as though blown in the wind lean towards the rocks.

An artist who has always made human relationships with the environment part of his art, Alex wanted in his new work to portray the granite stones as individuals, small universes made up of billion year old rock supporting mosses, lichens, moulds, grasses, insects, and more. He says:

“I really want to connect people with the life and times of these granite stones, which have been billions of years in the making. These ones were selected by our human ancestors only 5000 years ago to mark their place in the world, and are now gradually being etched away by weather and plants. Somehow the smaller stones are more relatable – you can imagine one person choosing it, turning it upright and then sitting back to think about how beautiful it was.”

Digital black ink drawn small granite stones, in a circle formation. Lots of white page surrounds these delicately,fluidly drawn rocks.

The show also includes a set of 26 illustrations of the rock and water landscapes of Devon & Cornwall featured in ‘The Green Hill, letters to a son’, a book written by his wife Sophie Pierce and published this month. Alex and Sophie lost their son Felix suddenly and unexpectedly in 2017, he was only 20. The book is about grief, trauma and loss but also then about finding joy after bereavement in the restorative power of the natural world. The South Devon Coast, the River Dart and Dartmoor become part of a healing journey. It is poignant to know this underpinning narrative of the exhibition at Salty’s and how these drawings connect deeply to local landscapes in many ways.

Digital drawing as though pen and ink, describes a large granite boulder with soft mosses growing around and the dark shadows created by this big rock. Fine and fluid drawn lines describe the form, with lots of white space around.

You can see Alex’s exhibition Minilithic and purchase his work here in our studio shop in North Street so please pop in if you can to have a look and he’ll be here to answer any questions, or talk all things granite, Dartmoor Stone Circles and much more.

So far our pop up guests have had a link to printmaking in some way, so we encouraged Alex to think about printing some of his work with us to make a limited edition. We began wondering if the local ‘umber’ connection could lead to a pigment that would suit stone related imagery and bring a further connection of his drawings to the locality. The Ashburton umber is no longer accessible but Alex, knew exactly where to look next. Excitingly, he turned up with a tub of micaceous haematite, which is found in granite, and which looks like glitter. Alex has procured some of this mineral from Kelly Mine in Lustleigh - so before he comes to show his work, we are going to mix some up and print with it.

The results will be on show in our shop 30 North Street, Ashburton 5th - 10th April 2023. You can see more of Alex’s work on Instagram and further links below.

Alex Murdin on Instagram

Lithicality Store

Read about Alex and the pop up in the Peoples Republic of South Devon

Alex Murdin’s pop up exhibition in Salty’s Studio


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