You may have seen something unusual in the Surrey Hills landscape this summer. On Milton Court Farm near Dorking is a large scale piece of artwork called Fossil Ocean Floor by artist Jonathan Parsons. This monumental installation shines out bright white against the green, reminiscent of the ancient chalk hill figures. A series of large scale white discs have been used to make up the words ‘animal’ and ‘lamina’, with the discs representing the microscopic coccoliths that make up the sedimentary layers of chalk to which the word ‘lamina’ refers.
The perfect place from which to view this artwork is as you pass by on the train along the North Downs line, as you move along you’ll see the word seamlessly changes from ‘lamina’ to ‘animal’. The words boldly shine out in the landscape acknowledging the chalk layers formed over millions of years, gradually compressed into pure white calcite limestone: the chalk we see today.
Jonathan hand built this installation in his studio and installed it at Milton Court Farm with help from local farmer, Hugh Broom and his family. The project was made possible through funding from Arts Council England as well as local support.
As well as the installation, Jonathan has worked with groups of different ages to explain the thought process behind his piece, leading walks and working with secondary school children.
Ali Clarke, programme manager for Surrey Hills Arts comments: ‘It has been wonderful seeing the artist develop this piece over the months and now be able to share the research and process behind it with others. It provides an interesting, thought-provoking pause on a beautiful walk.’
The installation is viewable from 15 June – 31 August 2018. It can be viewed from the carriage road at Ranmore Common, the train from West Dorking and the footpath across Milton Court Farm. Why not see the installation by doing our 3 mile circular self-guided trail ‘Walk the Sea Bed’ https://www.surreyunearthed.org/walking-the-sea-bed/. Discover more about the project here https://www.surreyunearthed.org/fossil-ocean-floor/.
Fossil Ocean Floor is part of a larger project known as Surrey Unearthed which is an innovative programme of ten projects developed with artists who have a strong connection with the Surrey Hills landscape. For further information on Surrey Unearthed visit https://www.surreyunearthed.org/