Rachel Gracey, 'River Notes,' at the Zuleika Gallery, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, from 3 September 2022.
Rachel Gracey takes the title for her latest exhibition from what she calls ‘a quite extraordinary, quirky book’ that was first published in 1979, and which she happened upon quite by chance. River Notes: The Dance of Herons, by the American author Barry Lopez, lyrically charts the inner life of a nameless narrator, and his thoughts and feelings in an unnamed landscape – looking, watching, dreaming – alert to all the sensations of Nature. Gracey was particularly captured by one of the final lines, when, with winter approaching, a dried-out watercourse returns after a long summer drought. ‘The river has come back to fit between its banks,’ Lopez’s narrator observes. ‘To stick your hands into the river is to feel the cords that bind the earth together in one piece.’