Spinning – Nature, culture and the spiritual in the work of John Newling By Richard Davey
Published by Nottingham Contemporary www.nottinghamcontemporary.org
isbn 978-1-907421-06-8 Copyright © 2012 Richard Davey All rights reserved.
Edited by Peter Sawbridge Photographs © 2012 John Newling Designed by Joff and Ollie, www.joffandollie.co.uk Printed in the UK
This book has been funded by the School of Art and Design, Nottingham Trent University.
John Newling has constantly pushed at the boundaries of art. He has grown a hydroponic vineyard in a redundant church, covered two pence coins with paracetamol, turned the waste product from communion wafer production into a sculptural material, and grown a lemon tree in home made soil. Throughout his career he has found intriguing ways to engage with members of the public, selling them insurance against loss of mystery, turning their wishes into a bolus on an ancient tree and given away toys and gardening tools on Lincoln High Street. He has made work on a canal path in Stoke-on-Trent, filled the Chapter House of Canterbury Cathedral with wooden lecterns, and stood on Euston Road asking passers by what makes them happy.
This book is the first substantial overview of these mysterious, intriguing, and often beautiful works. Fully illustrated in colour throughout, it explores the major themes that have underpinned Newling’s extensive output. Individual sections on Cathedrals, Pilgrimage, Nature, Biocity, Spinning, Wishes, Human loneliness, Love and the desire to go To Infinity and Beyond provide insights into his ongoing project to understand the world around him. Here is a unique chance to discover the connection between nature, human culture and spirituality that lies at the heart of Newling’s work, and to hear his very relevant call for human beings to live closer to nature’s spinning core.
Revd Dr Richard Davey is Anglican Chaplain at Nottingham Trent University and a Visiting Fellow in the School of Art and Design. He has written extensively on contemporary art and artists, specialising in the intersection of spirituality and art. His books include James Hugonin, Ingelby Gallery, Edinburgh, 2010 and Tess Jaray: Thresholds, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2012.