Famous paper bridge artist turns to waterfalls

10 October 2016

A renowned Teesdale artist, who hit the headlines with a paper bridge strong enough to hold a car, is getting ready to unveil his latest creation – a series of projections, using whitewashed barns, which will appear as cubes of gushing water.

Steve Messam’s latest work has been inspired by the waterfalls of the River Tees and his unique and stunning artwork, called Waterfall, will run across 14-16 and 21-23 October.

Waterfall is part of Durham County Council’s fresh approach to visual arts and this remarkable artwork will draw on the rich history, geography and characteristics of the area around it. It has attracted sponsorship from Northumbrian Water.

Artist Steve has spent recent weeks filming each of the waterfalls of the River Tees - Cauldron Snout, High Force and Low Force - in high definition, slow motion video. The films will then be projected onto all four sides of three whitewashed barns that cascade down the hillside to the east of Bowlees Visitor Centre, effectively wrapping them in mesmerising slow motion pulses of water.

He explained: “I will be filming each of the waterfalls in real time, but these films will be slowed down by about 20 times so that you can really see the power of the water in a way that just isn’t possible with the human eye.”

The water company’s Cow Green reservoir, and a number of other reservoirs in Teesdale, supply water to two large water treatment works which supply the Tees area with drinking water. Before water from these reservoirs reach these treatments works it flows over the three waterfalls being featured as art installations.

Northumbrian Water’s Head of Water Supply, Noel Cooper, said: “Water is the essence of life. It is at the heart of all we do at Northumbrian Water. Whether it is supplying our customers with tap water that is excellent quality and tastes great, or making sure we look after river and bathing water quality. This art installation will certainly showcase the beauty of water and the waterfalls in a very creative and unique way. I encourage people to go along and see it.”

Waterfall will show for six nights over two weekends, 14,15 and 16 October and 21, 22 and 23 October 2016.

Durham County Council’s portfolio holder for Economic Regeneration and Culture, Cllr Neil Foster, said: “This is a really exciting project that brings together the history and heritage of Teesdale with the wonders of its natural environment and showcases it in a truly unique way. We hope that the installation will draw visitors of all ages, from far and wide who will enjoy the opportunity to experience art in a very different way.”

Steve will be giving a talk about his work at 6pm on Sunday, 16 October at Bowlees Visitor Centre. To book, call 01833 622 145.

Waterfall has been organised by Durham County Council in association with North Pennines AONB Partnership and is produced by kind permission of Raby Estates.

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