Here’s my thinking behind the exhibition…
This exhibition brings together 18 artists, makers, poets and designers whose work is intimately connected with trees and woodland.
Though their works span a wide variety of media they are all united by a strong affinity with woodland; as a place to observe and connect with nature, as a rich source of metaphor, as a place for reflection and healing, as a link to distant myths and inspiration for new writing, as a sustainable resource to work with. For some, trees are their singular subject or their raw materials, for others they represent a starting point for their imagination.
The diversity of creative responses here is indicative of the richness of our cultural relationships to trees. The Finnish concept of ‘sisu’ encompasses the kind of endurance which continues in the face of all obstacles, a quality which artists here have sensed in the trees they know. Without wishing to anthropomorphise the tree, which is an utterly different kind of living thing to ourselves, it is hard not to draw parallels with our own struggles and scars.
The way humans relate to trees while they are alive may be sensitive and respectful, or destructive and indifferent and there are examples of both in this exhibition. However, when a tree becomes wood our relationship with it changes: we no longer have to consider it as a living thing, and artists can begin to explore it as a material which tells the story of its own making.
Timed to coincide with the launch of the new national Tree Charter, ‘Grown together’ seeks to highlight the relationship between artists and trees and remind us of the reasons we should value and protect them. By considering trees in new ways, we can learn much about ourselves.
‘To enter a wood is to pass into a different world in which we ourselves are transformed. It is where you travel to find yourself, often, paradoxically, by getting lost.’ Roger Deakin, Wildwood 2007
The exhibition has been curated by Tansy Lee Moir and includes St Margaret’s House residents and invited artists.
Read Giles Sutherland’s review in The Times here>
Read Rachel Mackie’s review in Edinburgh Napier news here>
The exhbition runs until 4pm Sunday 26th November.