By Jonathan Parsons

Horizons is a series of site-specific interventions in the chalk landscape of the northern Surrey Hills. The works use the colour white, which is inspired by ancient chalk hill figures and is visible from a far distance. Installations, text pieces and projections will align in the landscape, with letters composed of a matrix of bright discs and scribble forms displayed on a monumental scale.

The project takes its name from the distinct soil layers of the earth, known as horizons. The chalk of the Surrey Hills – the ‘R’ bedrock horizon – was laid down on a tropical seabed roughly 90 million years ago. It is composed of the disc-shaped skeletal remains of phytoplankton called coccoliths. They fell as microscopic snow to the ocean floor over millions of years forming layers of silt kilometers thick. This gradually compressed into pure white calcite limestone: the chalk we see today.

Horizons will reflect structures and uses of the chalk at different scales through poetic associations. The discs making up the text pieces represent the microscopic coccoliths. Scribble forms evoke a substance that can be manipulated at the human scale. Alignments of works in the landscape embody the shapes and location of the chalk hill escarpments. Horizons will also engage with ideas of landscape as an artistic genre and the landscape as something that can be viewed as an image.

Fossil Ocean Floor is a monumental installation in farmland adjacent to the Great Western Railway near Dorking. The work is viewable from 15 June – 30 September 2018. It can be viewed from the carriage road at Ranmore Common, the train from West Dorking and the footpath across Milton Court Farm.

This circular walk takes you past the artwork in both directions: Download map and instructions


Photos: John Miller & Jonathan Parsons

With thanks for additional support from:

Jonathan Parsons

Jonathan Parsons was selected for the British Art Show 5 (2000) and was one of the youngest artists to be included in the notorious Sensation exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts (1997), which toured to Berlin and New York. He co-curated Seeing Round Corners for Turner Contemporary, Margate (2016) and was the artistic lead for the 2015 Flag Project for the UK Parliament. Recent solo exhibitions include: Scribbles, Diagrams + Combines, Hardwick Gallery, Cheltenham (2017) and New Paintings, New Art Projects, London (2014). Recent group exhibitions include: Collateral Drawing 5, Strange Cargo, Folkestone (2017), Abstract Remix, New Art Projects, London (2017), The Order of Things, The Wilson, Cheltenham (2017), Mechanical Abstract, Turps Gallery, London (2016) and Geographies, Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan (2015).