Synthetic Landscapes Reviewing the ‘ideal’ landscape


Pablo Bronstein / Heather & Ivan Morison / David Bethell
Dafna Talmor / Edward Chell / Ged Quinn / Helen Maurer / Hélène Muheim
Julian Opie / Jasleen Kaur / Ryan Gander / Salvatore Arancio

Meadow Arts’ latest project is a vibrant exhibition of contemporary art at the magnificent Weston Park, on the Shropshire/Staffordshire border, and at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery’s new Music Hall venue.

A cohort of exciting contemporary artists explore two radically different visions of man-made landscapes: on the one hand, the idealised landscaped garden superbly expressed at Weston Park, on the other, the emerging industrial landscape.


Weston Park – 4 June to 3 September 2017

Pablo Bronstein and artist duo Heather & Ivan Morison investigate Weston Park’s history, responding to ‘Capability’ Brown’s grand landscape and Thomas Paine’s architecture, with large-scale newly commissioned work. These works are part of an ambitious group exhibition, which extends further into the Granary Art Gallery and Walled Garden, featuring work by artists who respond to the landscape in myriad ways; David Bethell, Edward Chell, Ged Quinn, Dafna Talmor, Jasleen Kaur, Ryan Gander, Julian Opie, Hélène Muheim, Helen Maurer and Salvatore Arancio, all opening on the 4 June.

‘Capability’ Brown was commissioned to create two pleasure grounds and a walled garden at Weston Park between 1765 and 1766, crafting a seemingly ‘natural’, but very much ‘improved’ landscape, on a majestic scale that unfolds into the Shropshire hills as far as the eye can see.  One of the buildings in the gardens was the James Paine designed Pineapple House, which Weston Park is now campaigning to restore. 2017 is the tercentenary of James Paine’s birth and a festival of the architect’s work is taking place across the UK, involving opening James Paine designed buildings to the public.

(NB Weston Park is closed 16-23 August, when it hosts the V Festival)


Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery – 24 June to 3 September 2017

From 24 June, David Bethell explores the artefacts of Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, creating new work, displayed at both venues simultaneously, and curating an exhibition of art and objects from the museum’s historic collections. Bethell’s work will include a bridge (both literal and metaphorical) between the beauty of ‘Capability’ Brown’s landscapes and the ingenuity of Thomas Telford, whose part in the Industrial Revolution had a huge effect on the Shropshire landscape.

Meadow Arts bring unique contemporary art projects to places where art is not usually shown, supporting artists by commissioning new work and creating inspiring events and exhibitions for new audiences.


For further information, please contact:


Rebecca Farkas             

Meadow Arts                          01584 873964 / 07801 367936

Notes to editors


Updates on artists exhibiting in Synthetic Landscapes can be found at


Meadow Arts produces exceptional contemporary art projects in unusual places, accompanied by vibrant education and engagement programmes. Meadow Arts believes that inviting people to partake in thoughtful, playful and sometimes radical responses to cultural or historical contexts inspires new thinking and genuinely broadens horizons. Meadow Arts brings high quality contemporary art to areas where few other facilities exist.

Meadow Arts is a registered charity and an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation. Synthetic Landscapes is supported using public funding by Arts Council England and is delivered in partnership with Weston Park and Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery.

Meadow Arts’ public commissions programme, Meadow Projects, is currently exhibiting a range of artworks by artists such as Mariele Neudecker and Keith Wilson in public spaces.


Weston Park is a 17th century stately home on the Shropshire / Staffordshire border. It is set in 1,000 acres of Capability Brown parkland, has 28 bedrooms, and is primarily used as an exclusive use venue for private house parties, weddings, celebrations and business events.

Weston’s rich history dates back to the Domesday Book, while in recent times it has taken its place on the global stage by playing host to events such as the G8 Summit (1998). In 1986 the park and gardens, house and historic collections were gifted to the nation by the Earl of Bradford, since which time it has been in the care of the Weston Park Foundation, a charitable trust.


Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery at the Music Hall offers visitors a chance to discover a mix of the old, the new and the curious all within an extraordinary set of buildings. From a medieval town house to an early Victorian Music Hall they span more than 750 years of history.

The Music Hall has been entertaining generations of Salopians with famous faces from Charles Dickens to The Beatles. The Museum now returns to its former home to continue this tradition with an exciting special exhibitions programme. From top class art exhibitions to hands-on family fun there is an assortment of delights that make Shropshire unique, through 650 million years of history and a thousand remarkable objects.

The museum has worked with leading specialists to revisit and rethink the evidence its collections provide about the past, inviting Contemporary Artists to help push the boundaries of how Shropshire is seen and interpreted.  It has also investigated new technologies to discover innovative and exciting new ways to look at objects.


James Paine Festival 2017

In 1745, Doncaster Corporation appointed a talented young architect named James Paine  (1717 – 1789) to design a Mansion House to be used for  ‘civic hospitality and celebrations’ At the age of 27, Paine’s career was launched and over the next 40 years he established himself as one of the great architects of the Palladian Revival in the mid 18th century.

Peter Leach in his definite book on James Paine (published in 1988) provides a catalogue of Paine’s documented works, projects and attributions. Of the original 104 projects listed in the catalogue, only 52 completed or partially completed projects still survive today and only 22 of these are open to the public.

Some of Paine’s buildings are set in landscapes designed by Capability Brown: grand houses at Thorndon Hall, Sandbeck Park and Wardour Castle; a magnificent stable block, two bridges and a mill at Chatsworth; a sublime Temple of Diana, Pineapple House and bridge at Weston Park; and bridges at Chillington Park and Wallington Hall.

Through 2017, the Friends of Doncaster Mansion House, in partnership with the Doncaster Civic Trust, York University and Doncaster Council will celebrate the 300th Anniversary of James Paine’s birth by holding a series of architectural and cultural events at the Mansion House and by creating a James Paine website and exhibition. For further information on the Festival, visit the Friends’ website at or contact Owen Evans on 01302 342846 /