Storm Cloud

Emma Stibbon

    Research output: Non-textual outputExhibition


    The output comprised three large-scale drawings using ink with salt, carbon and ground oyster shell, five cyanotypes on paper, and a set of five digital prints on acrylic. The works were commissioned by York Art Gallery and Lakeland Arts for the exhibition Ruskin, Turner and the Storm Cloud held to mark the 200th Anniversary of Ruskin’s birth. They represent a contemporary response to the environmental themes of Ruskin’s ‘close looking’ at Alpine glaciers.

    Retracing Ruskin’s steps in the Alps, Stibbon investigated what remains of Alpine glaciers today, comparing not simply the extent of retreat against Ruskin’s daguerreotypes and drawings but also the artistic interpretation that would seem to have informed production. The research references Ruskin’s ‘Storm Cloud of the Nineteenth Century’ lecture (London Institution,1884) about atmospheric pollution from industrial carbon emissions, and representations of glaciers and Alpine landscapes by Ruskin and Turner. The enquiry raised questions as to how Alpine geography has been impacted by climate change over the last two centuries and whether artists can help audiences connect with issues of climate change through innovative methods of drawing and cyanotype photography.

    Stibbon’s process of information-gathering is based in the field, involving making drawings from observation, digital photography and gathering glacial flour, produced by the glacier scouring the bedrock. She tested her observations against Ruskin’s historic work, creating a contemporary response to environmental themes. Through experimental, large-scale drawing approaches and methods of installation, she identified methods of connecting audiences viscerally with issues of climate change.

    Ruskin, Turner and the Storm Cloud was first exhibited at York Art Gallery (2019) and toured to Abbot Hall Art Gallery later that year. Stibbon’s peer-reviewed essay ‘The Artist as Witness’ was published in the exhibition catalogue, she also participated in a panel debate and symposium, and presented education workshops.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationYork Art Gallery
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


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