Ackroyd+Harvey: The Lark Descending

Art has the capacity to scare me. Ridiculous I know. But it's true.
I think it’s because I don’t know what, or how, I’m supposed to think. I don’t know the lingo. I don’t have the knowledge. I’m afraid of sounding silly.
So when I was asked to do a podcast with local artists Ackroyd + Harvey, I wasn’t quite sure if I was up to it. All I really knew about them was that they grew grass on vertical surfaces, and that they’re dedicated campaigners against the proposed oil drilling on Leith Hill, an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty just to the south of Dorking. I’d met them at various protesting/protecting events….
But Heather (Ackroyd) and Dan (Harvey) are just so lovely, and their exhibition (of which the grass is a major part), and the way they talk about it, so fascinating, that, from the start, it was all fine. Silly me....
Their exhibition, The Lark Descending, is part of Surrey Unearthed, a programme of 10 linked projects exploring the natural world beneath our feet, through sculpture, installation, film and writing. Ackroyd+Harvey’s is the first, and runs until 27 May 2018 in St Martins Walk in Dorking.
So, the grass.
They’ve pioneered a technique which involves projecting a negative image onto a grass seed-covered canvas to produce what looks like a photograph in different shades of green, the chlorophyll which makes the grass go green, responding to the amount of light it gets. Heather says ‘you could see it as a bizarre horticultural experiment, or you could see it as art’.
In their hands, it’s certainly the latter.
The result is….well, as previously mentioned, I don’t have the lingo…so all I can say is I found it utterly mesmerising and very beautiful. I'm a lot less scared of art now, and I couldn’t stop asking questions.
Which, thankfully, is extremely useful for an interview….