Prospect and Refuge: Group Exhibition

12 March - 9 April 2022

Sim Smith is delighted to present Prospect and Refuge, the third group exhibition curated by David Surman, featuring the work of seven contemporary artists working in a range of different media, brought together for their respective engagement with notions of subjectivity as it relates to the concept of landscape.


The exhibition includes works by Carl Anderson (b.1990), Richard Ayodeji Ikhide (b.1991), Bendix Harms (b.1967), Ian Gouldstone (b.1979), Callum Green (b.1991), Kate Groobey (b.1979), Jonathan McCree (b.1963).


I came to the entrance of a great cavern, in front of which I stood for some time. … Bending my back into an arch I rested my tired hand on my knees and held my right hand over my downcast and contracted eyebrows: often bending first one way and then the other, to see whether I could discover anything inside, and this being forbidden by the darkness within, and having remained there for some time, two contrary emotions arose in me, fear and desire—fear of the threatening dark cavern, desire to see whether there were any marvellous thing within it. 

Leonardo da Vinci, quoted in Richter 1970, pp. 324 


The human mind, curious and conscious, is inextricably linked to the mysteries of landscape. Like the cave of da Vinci’s recollection, the land exerts an aesthetic power over us, a power rooted in our practical nature. Such a cave offers a place to call home, but what if it is occupied—by something bestial, something supernatural? If such a cave were a place of safety, the curious human could venture from it on daily adventures and return to it. The British geographer Jay Appleton coined the terms ‘prospect’ and ‘refuge’ to better account for these experiences of opportunity and safety that punctuate landscape. We are pushed and pulled by our inquisitiveness and trepidation—our aesthetic sense is inseparable from our animal senses. The landscape is not nature, it is something inside us. 


This exhibition presents the work of six artists whose work touches the fibre of being and the world Appleton describes with ‘prospect and refuge’. What triggers a sense of ‘specialness’ in a place? Can a mark or a movement suggest opportunity or threat in our deeper consciousness? What makes up our sense of ‘home’ beyond simple familiarity? Taken together, the works included in this exhibition point to new aesthetic categories and themes that go beyond the traditional artistic categories of landscape, abstraction, figuration. We have stepped into a cave and found ‘marvellous things’, new points of reference to landscape and revitalised conceptualisations of home, wilderness and being.


Richter, Jean Paul. 3rd ed. 1970. The Literary Works of Leonardo da Vinci, Compiled and Edited from the Original Manuscripts by Jean Paul Richter. London: Phaidon.

Appleton, Jay. 1975. The Experience of Landscape. London and New York: Wiley.