Caught by the River

This Fractured Land

25th February 2024

Next month, THIS FRACTURED LAND (STORIES FROM THE PAST AND FUTURE) opens at Discover Bucks Museum, Aylesbury, where it will run until July. It sees five visual artists explore the changing landscape of England from different perspectives.

Inspired by its history and imaginative power, the artists, Lian Chan, Ellie Laycock, Jane Peacock, Ellie Reid and Caroline Thomson, look at the land from a geological, historical, social and mythological point of view. With access to the Museum’s collections, the work that they have created specifically for this exhibition encompasses themes of storytelling, the ancient past, social conflict over land, the uncertain future of climate change and the emotional power of the land itself.

On display alongside their work which includes paintings, prints, photography, sculpture and film will be objects from the collections that inspired them, including paintings by the war artist John Nash, items of crime and punishment, long-buried gold coins and rocks and fossils from the deep past.

Lian Chan creates digitally ruptured landscapes from her photographs of the Chilterns and its geological specimens. Her works unfold the past to respond to climatic and global concerns of the present and future. Reinterpreting the paintings of Whiteleaf by John and Paul Nash from the Museum collections, she references the trauma the brothers had witnessed on the front lines of WWI and considers the capacity of the land to heal and act as salve.

Ellie Laycock revisits bucolic sites where hundreds of years ago in the ‘Commotion Time’, ownership and public rights of land caused tension and social unrest, creating an uneasy visual record with clear parallels to political and economic stresses

Jane Peacock makes paintings and prints that imagine a future of the land in millennia to come, long after humans have ceased to exist. Inspired by walks in ancient pathways and earthworks in the Chilterns, she uses repeating motifs such as caves and hillsides to create an abstracted rendering of future landscapes, whilst referencing fossils from human activity in the past, from cave paintings to early tools, and plastic bottles adrift in the waterways.

Ellie Reid is interested in our human connection to our environment. For this exhibition she has created an installation that responds specifically to the Harding room at Discover Bucks Museum. Considering the Chiltern hills in deep time, once under water, she has imagined a landscape that through shifting sea levels, is being revealed to us. A landscape that could be of the past or of the future.

Caroline Thomson creates dreamlike paintings of landscapes often peopled by children. She is inspired by the rich history of woodlands which act as a metaphor for retreat, transformation or the unknown. Ideas around childhood, the nature of imagination and memory are entangled in these enchanted spaces. Works included draw inspiration from specific landscapes, drawing parallels between sites as far reaching as Whiteleaf Woods, Bucks, Chanctonbury Ring, Sussex and Lydford Gorge, Devon.

Together the artists work as Fractured Land Collective.

For opening times, ticket prices and booking information visit