Works from 'Motorways' included in group exhibitions 'Contemporary Landscape Photography' at Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum, 2013; 'Night: A Time Between' at Royal West of England Academy, Bristol, 2008 and 'Unravelling Photography' at Michael West Gallery, Quay Arts, Newport, Isle of Wight, 2006. This work also included in 'Fergus Heron: Common Measure', solo show at The Front View Whitstable, 2012
This ongoing series of photographs of motorways considers the nocturnal landscape as a convergence of urban and rural space. The motorway is considered at once somewhere and nowhere, physically and psychologically transformed by night into a pictorial space that might absorb our gaze.
The production methodology of the photographs involves a particular relationship between photographic meaning and technique; long exposures composed of multiple short exposures extend the time of the photograph but retain an illusion of the momentary.
The construction of these photographs as pictures combines aspects of the aesthetic principles of the picturesque and the sublime in connection to landscape. The work poses questions about the significance of darkness as well as light to photography itself: These photographs emphasize both the visible and the invisible.
Works from this series have featured in exhibitions including 'Contemporary Landscape Photography', Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum, 2013, curated by Worcester Contemporary Arts; Night: A Time Between at the Royal West of England Academy, Bristol, 2008. This exhibition was curated by Janette Kerr, artist, academician at The RWA and Visiting Research Fellow at the University of the West of England. In her introductory essay to the exhibition catalogue Kerr states that the exhibition ‘brought together artists whose work explores human association with nocturnal worlds. Some address night as an aesthetic intangible, some as an expression of naturalism, Romanticism and the sublime, while others draw upon the rich cultural legacy of narratives, metaphors and allegories associated with the nocturnal imagination.’ (Janette Kerr, Night: A Time Between, Royal West of England Academy, 2008) A catalogue of the exhibition with essays by Dr. Janette Kerr, Dr. Steve Poole and Lily Markiewicz is published by Royal West of England Academy (ISBN 978-1-899525-03-4).
This work was also included in Unravelling Photography, a group exhibition held at Michael West Gallery, Quay Arts, Newport, Isle of Wight. The exhibition was supported by Arts Council England and was conceived as an investigation into the fundamental characteristics of photography as a form of visual art, addressing questions of memory, perception, place and looking. Six photographs from Night Motorways were shown with three images from the series Forests and Woodlands. A catalogue accompanying the exhibition was published. It includes essays by Liz Wells, Professor in Photographic Culture at University of Plymouth and Dr Nancy Roth, Senior Lecturer in Historical and Critical Studies at University College Falmouth (ISBN-10 0-9552787-2-4).
"Fergus Heron’s studies of place rely on subtle contrasts between photographs of one particular location. A ‘probable’ photograph would surely claim that a clear, simple representation of space was not only possible, but that it had in fact been achieved. Instead, the series complicates the space, or better the project of representing it, filling it up with odd questions about how the features are related to one another, and in turn to their representation in the other images: is one earlier or later? Is it in fact the same space? Is the space, finally, representable at all?"
(Dr Nancy Roth, ‘Improbable Pictures’ in Unravelling Photography, Exhibition Catalogue, Quay Arts Publishing, 2006)
"Fergus Heron’s…motorways… eerie by night, testify to wonders of technology and engineering. Roadways point to human insistence on speed and convenience; locations are anonymous and the past is obliterated as concrete lanes snake in to the dark distance beneath and beyond our gaze. The lack of cars belies the fact that at least one – the photographer’s – must be present somewhere. Farms and villages, which once were neighbours, are now segregated by dual carriageways and the rush hour roar; histories have been shovelled aside in the service of speedy transportation. This juxtaposition of work from two separate series effectively signals differences in the journey from past to that which presently obtains: woodlands develop and change over the years, adjusting incrementally and seasonally; by contrast motorways are founded on wholesale destruction of soil and species." (Liz Wells ‘Disentanglements’ in Unravelling Photography, Exhibition Catalogue, Quay Arts Publishing, 2006)