A Body of Work Exploring Our Human Connection With Trees
Trees are our still, silent counterparts, rooted in the landscape. Our ladders to the stars. Trees have long provided a metaphor for the human condition as we search for our roots, branch out in new directions or turn over a new leaf. Their seasonal transformation can remind us of both our aspirations and our mortality. They stand as monuments to bare existence, dedicated to growth. Feet in the dirt, looking for the light, we are all, to some extent, planted here.
We share some similarities in design with trees, our basic physical structure of trunk and limbs and our interior landscape of branching blood vessels. I play with these likenesses in raw material and organic form. My work often has a narrative element, hinting at the mythic resonance suggested in tree forms. Some of the paintings describe human-shaped hollows in deadfall trunks, alluding to the Norse creation myth of Ask and Embla. According to the Poetic Edda, Odin drew these first two people from fallen Ash and Elm trunks. I frequently play with the idea of decaying wood bursting with life and being transformed through the narrative process of human imagination. It is a curious life we share with trees, sometimes stricken, always striving.
I work in the woods, drawing inspiration from being immersed in the landscape whilst making studies. Sharing the air. These initial studies are often done in chalk pastel because of the intensity and portability of the medium. The fragility and ephemeral qualities also appeal; chalk paintings can be ruined with a sneeze or a stray sleeve! Some of these studies become finished pieces, some I use to create larger paintings in oil or acrylic. Most of the time I choose to work with acrylic because of its flexibility and fast-drying properties. I work in layered glazes, energetic brushwork and dry over-painting. I tend to use a bent, slightly corroded palette knife to drag and scrape paint, sometimes needles, brush ends and sticks to scratch the surface. Working this way, I try to find a balance between building and revealing colour, coaxing a painting into being. A piece is finished when I feel the raw material has been remade to express something of my experience in the landscape, complete with growth and erosion, infused with the strength and energy of the inspiring trees. Animate and resilient.
I’ve included blog posts written about particular pieces, and I hope these give you some feel for where the work is coming from and how it comes about in specific instances. Your comments are most welcome; please take a card with my contact details or leave your thoughts in the notebook provided.
Thanks for having a look!
Many thanks to the LEC for hosting this exhibition. Please contact the artist with any queries about the work or sales.
Visit the website Friday 23 March for more details...