With an established reputation as a photographer of people, Tom Wood’s work has been exhibited and published extensively worldwide. His landscape photography however, is relatively unknown. Adopting an open and expansive approach to the genre of landscape, the exhibition "Landscapes", curated by Mark Durden, presents, for the first time, a selection of nearly 100 of Wood’s extensive and varied pictures made in response to the West of Ireland, Merseyside and North Wales. They will be hung salon-style in MOSTYN’s original Victorian gallery spaces.
The photographs made in the West of Ireland, County Mayo, show the landscape of the artist’s birthplace and childhood, and an area he has returned to as an artist almost every year since 1975. Taken over decades, pictures of this wild and remote landscape, many of them glimpsed from the car during his journeys there, will be shown in relationship to fragile fragments of surviving family photographs, family videos and intimate and affectionate portraits of day-to-day life within a rural community.
Wood’s landscapes made within Merseyside, where he lived and worked for 25 years, from 1978–2003, address a more urban environment, encompassing pictures of people’s homes and gardens, parks, wastelands and the River Mersey. But as with his work in Ireland, Wood is very much concerned with the relationships and attachments that people have with places.
Wood moved to North Wales in 2003 to address what he has referred to as "the matter of landscape". The pictures made in Wales respond to the fields, hedgerows and woods near where he lives in the Vale of Clwyd. Many use a panoramic format camera, which allows him to create expansive and detailed views of natural phenomena and are integral to Wood’s primary concern with the demands and value of the photograph as a picture rather than a document.
The exhibition is accompanied by an ambitious public engagement project, commencing at MOSTYN with the ’Biscuit Tin Photo Archive’. The engagement concept stems from Wood’s experiences whilst researching his own rural background in the west of Ireland when he was presented with a biscuit tin full of fading black and white images. He expects that many families in Wales will have such an archive tucked away in a box or tin. Local groups and individuals will be invited to share their own images of rural life and these will come to form a constantly evolving and integral part of the exhibition — presented in the MOSTYN studio space adjacent to the main gallery.