About Grown Together

November 15, 2017 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

Here's my thinking behind the exhibition...

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This exhibition brings together 18 artists, makers, poets and designers whose work is intimately connected with trees and woodland. 

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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‘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

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The exhibition has been curated by Tansy Lee Moir and includes St Margaret’s House residents and invited artists.

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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.

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Introducing Grown Together artists

November 05, 2017 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

I am curating Grown together for St Margaret's House this autumn and it's been such a pleasure to work with artists from different disciplines who share my passion for trees. Here's a flavour of their work, and the exhbition details can be found here>

Anne Gilchrist

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Anne Gilchrist has a deep connection to trees:
"My work has evolved within the woodlands of Midlothian, Perthshire and Argyll. Out of a lifetime’s love and fascination for the natural world and through long term acquaintance and observations, my work has gradually become more about the woodland, and – I hope – less about myself, or the human world."
Anne will be showing paintings, sculpture and installation

http://www.annegilchrist.co.uk/

Charlotte Eva Bryan

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Charlotte Eva Bryan is a Glasgow based Artist and Art Therapist with a background in Painting and Printmaking.
She will be showing a drawing of the famous Pollok Beech.
"I have returned to observational drawing in an attempt to preserve the memory of a much-loved local tree which was recently attacked by vandals and set on fire. By drawing the remains of the tree, I intend to reflect on resilience and healing, while processing the attack and working with others in order to help keep the Pollok Beech’s legacy alive. "

http://www.articulatearttherapy.com/

Chris Dooks

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Chris Dooks is an Edinburgh based multimedia artist with a large portfolio of publicly engaged work, in what could be described as a ‘medical humanities art practice’.
"Although I have a fairly eclectic style I am niche in one aspect of everything I do - it is usually a response to creative problem solving of restrained opportunities."
Chris will be showing his film 'Gardening as astronomy' from Tiny Geographies.

idioholism.com
vimeo.com/dooks
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Alan Kay

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Originally from Fife, Alan Kay is a painter based in St. Margaret’s House.

“Trees seem to pepper landscapes but are often seen as secondary.  Recently, I have started to paint trees and I have tried to capture the idea of trees in the foreground obscuring the wide expanse of background.  It is about looking through things to get beyond - a bit like living in the future and not recognising and dealing with what is immediately in front of us.”

Alan will be showing some of his recent paintings.

http://www.alankayart.co.uk/

Teresa Hunyadi

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Teresa Hunyadi is an Austrian sculptor living and working in Edinburgh, with a studio at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop.

“Trees mean lots of different things to me. Mainly they mean growth and adaption. Regarding my work they are a very substantial resource as well as a “friend”. Every interest in timber starts for me with the tree and its environment.”

Teresa will be showing a series of her recent sculptures in wood.

http://teresahunyadi.com/

Adele Gregory

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Originally from San Jose, California Adele now lives in Edinburgh and has a studio at St Margaret’s House.

“As a child I was lucky to have grown up with two large backyard trees and a small creek with woodland nearby. Trees were my upstairs playrooms.  The twists and turns of their branches were like the stairs in a cosy two-story home.  A few years on I would be camping with friends and gaze up at the ring of trees above our heads. No matter what spot you chose, you'd see this circle of guardians and somehow knew to be on good behaviour.”

Adele will be showing some of her pencil drawings of wooded areas around Edinburgh and the Lothians.

http://adelegregory.weebly.com/

Kenris MacLeod

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Kenris MacLeod is an Edinburgh based textile artist. She uses freemotion machine embroidery to describe the textures and complexity of the natural world – specifically trees and woodland.

“Using the sewing machine needle as a pencil or brush, I sew complex designs that combine repetitive forms and abstract shapes with elemental natural imagery. My work seeks to connect us to our ancient roots, tapping into a memory that is almost, but not quite, lost. Sometimes I think I should widen my remit and leave trees behind for a bit but it feels impossible when they are such a constant source of amazement and fascination to me.”

www.kenrismacleod.com

Steve Smart

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Steve grew up in Edinburgh, but for a long time lived in rural areas, now living just outside Dundee.  Amongst other things on his fifty-seven year trip he has been a photographer, a designer, a technologist, an animator, a hill walker, but always a person who makes.

“Trees can be very big, some of them are very old. Their character and way of life is complex, in many ways hidden, and very different from our own. They can make us pause, and they can make us gasp. I’ve had a fascination with the forms and shapes of trees, and a joy in walking in woods for longer than I can say.”

Steve will be showing his new multimedia work ‘Drawing Breath’.

stevedsmart.wordpress.com

Rona MacLean

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Painter and printmaker Rona MacLean grew up on Loch Lomond side and is now based in Edinburgh, with a studio at St Margaret’s House.

“Having grown up in the countryside trees have always been part of my childhood memories. Now they provide me with an enduring focus for my work. Their majestic silhouettes and structure, particularly in winter, are very compelling and a gift to a printmaker. A tree without its summer plumage never fails to intrigue me.”

Rona’s screenprints will be on show in the exhibition.

http://www.ronamaclean.co.uk/

Katherine Sola

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Katherine Sola grew up surrounded by ancient forests in Eastern Europe. She now works in ceramics, painting and drawing from her St Margaret’s House studio.

“Woodland fed us, and woodland gave us shelter. We have very strong respect for each tree and we see them as a living individual, not just a tree. In Slavic folk Culture we celebrate woodlands, forests and each individual tree. It is our way of life.”

Katherine will be showing new ceramic works.

http://www.katherinesola.com/index.html

Aliisa Hyslop

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Aliisa Hyslop is a Finnish/Scottish artist, living and working in Edinburgh and the Scottish borders, making paintings and sculptures.

“In the woods, through the woods, out of the woods - the symbolic nature of trees in our lives is a theme I have instinctively been following.  My mother was Finnish and perhaps because of that, I feel a natural affinity with trees and forests.”

Aliisa will be showing paintings, drawings and sculpture.

aliisa.hyslop@yahoo.co.uk

Isabell Buenz

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Isabell Buenz taught photography and expressive arts in Germany and Scotland, then established herself as an artist focusing on using paper and discarded books. She has a studio in St. Margaret’s House.

“I have always been connected to trees and woods in the shape of paper, the material of choice since I was a young child. I grew up in a family where big pieces of paper were always available. My father worked for the local newspaper supplying me with seemingly endless amounts of paper. I started building with newsprint, creating useful items, such as bags, bowls and picture frames.  As an adult I learnt to make my own paper, using fungi growing on tree trunks and other natural materials collected during forest walks.”

Isabell will be showing a series of new works in paper.

http://www.isabellbuenz.co.uk/

Aileen Grant

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Aileen Grant draws, paints and makes prints at her home in Lochcarron, Wester Ross and at her St Margaret’s House studio.

“I like to celebrate trees as they are so important to us as absorbers of carbon in the efforts to combat climate change.  Up here in Wester Ross the climate is a bit harsher for trees and there are not so many around. This rarity is another reason to cherish trees.”

Aileen will be showing some of her photopolymer gravure prints.

http://www.aileengrant.co.uk/

David Mola

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Originally from Spain, glass artist David Mola works in stained and bespoke kiln glass from his St Margaret’s House studio.

“Trees and woodland are places of inspiration for me.  There is something magical about trees, and in the way they grow, slowly, long lived... they are the best example of continuous movement, almost invisible but also unstoppable.”

David will be showing his sculptural works from the Kelburn Never-ending Glen.

https://www.davidmola.com/

Wildchild Designs (Robin Wood)

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Robin Wood is the founder Wildchild Designs, dedicated to creating exciting outdoor play structures, seating, sculpture and adventure trails.

“I've always been outdoors with my first happy memories in Suffolk where we lived by a huge woodland and the river Orwell: even then at the tender age of 7 I was allowed to play all day well away from our home and explore. I’m passionate about getting people out into the real world of nature, and my business encourages children of all ages to explore and re-discover the joys and freedom of outdoor play.”

Robin will be showing a series of illustrations for his Glingbobs and Tootflits sculpture trails.

http://www.wildchilddesigns.co.uk/

Lynn Ahrens

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Lynn Ahrens is a painter based at St Margaret’s House.

“For me, woodland and forest landscape played an important role in developing an approach to imagery based on memory and imagination. The experiences which were particularly stimulating occurred during lengthy periods of working in fields close to or bordered by woods and forests and of course the surrounding landscape, sounds and sights of the creatures inhabiting them.”

Lynn will be showing some of his oil and gouache paintings.

https://lynnahrens.co.uk/

Full Grown (Gavin Munro)

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Full Grown founder Gavin Munro, lives and works in Derbyshire, where he and the team tend the furniture field.

“Central to the original idea, and therefore to the ethos of the company, is a recognition that, somewhere along the line, the human race’s relationship with nature broke down, and the efforts of Full Grown are an opportunity to redefine this relationship in a mutually beneficial collaboration with nature.”

The exhibition will feature some of Full Grown’s furniture and design illustrations.

www.fullgrown.co.uk  

Tansy Lee Moir

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Tansy Lee Moir has been drawing trees for almost 10 years and is curating ‘Grown Together’ for St Margaret’s House. Originally from Derbyshire, she is now based just outside Edinburgh.

“My dialogues with trees always begin with walking, investigating areas of ancient woodland and historic land use, poring over old maps and new satellite imagery. My trips to these landscapes are partly aimless wanderings, partly focused foraging and I’m always on the lookout for the special trees which have a story to tell, in their contorted forms, broken branches or undecipherable graffiti.”

Tansy will be showing some of her recent charcoal drawings and works from the ‘Tree Stories’ project.

https://www.tansyleemoir.co.uk/

                             

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Grown together

October 10, 2017 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

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Upcoming 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.

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:

Lynn Ahrens  Charlotte Bryan  Isabell Buenz  Chris Dooks  Anne Gilchrist  Aileen Grant  Adele Gregory  Full Grown  Teresa Hunyadi  Aliisa Hyslop  Alan Kay  Rona Maclean  Kenris McLeod  Tansy Lee Moir  David Mola  Steve Smart  Katherine Sola  Robin Wood

Exhibition opening event 1-4pm Saturday 11th November.

Exhibition open daily 11am – 6pm until Sunday 26th November.

Events during the exhibition run -  to be confirmed.

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Current exhibition, 'Dialogues with trees'

December 09, 2016 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

Installation views of "Dialogues with trees' now showing at Howden Park Centre Livingston until 23rd April.

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Beginning the Howden residency

December 02, 2016 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

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I see my residency at Howden Park Centre as a fantastic opportunity for me to take stock of where my work is now and explore some new possibilities for the future.  Looking at the work on the walls gives me a more complete perspective than when it’s dotted around the studio - I can regard it as a body of work rather than as a series of individual pieces. I’m hoping that this will spark a period of experimentation, but I have to trust my subconscious on this as I have no idea right now where it will take me.

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Collaboration is a more certain way to stimulate new ideas so I’m delighted that writer and photographer Steve Smart has agreed to work with me over the next few months.  I did a fair bit of preparation for the residency earlier this year, principally getting to know Calderwood and learning my way around its variety of landscapes, so it was great to share some of my finds with him on a visit last week and fascinating to see the wood from his perspective. We were also really lucky to have a clear, crisp and frosty day for the visit with gorgeous light.

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He will be writing some poems in response to the locations, trees and themes in my work, which he’ll present at the closing event of the Dialogue with trees exhibition – more details here. In the meantime, feast your eyes and your ears on his images and poems on his blog

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Dialogues with trees

November 01, 2016 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

In my latest exhibition I present a collection of drawings which are the end products of my dialogues with trees.

Throughout their often very long lives, trees are engaged in a dialogue with their surroundings, with the ground they grow in, the prevailing weather, the other plants, animals and people that live alongside them.  There are physical clues in their forms that provide a record of that dialogue.

Similarly, the process of drawing is one of dialogue – it is a record of the interaction between the artist and the subject, the eye and the tree, the hand, the paper and the mark making tool.  As John Berger says, a drawing of a tree is not just a tree, but ‘a tree being looked at’.  All my work has intense looking at its heart.

The exhibition preview is on Thursday 3rd November, then is open to the public from Friday 4th to Sunday 23rd April 2017. More details here »

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Tree Stories exhibition

November 19, 2015 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

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Images from the Tree Stories exhibition at The Art House, Sheffield, 24th October - 6th November 2015

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This South Yorkshire Biodiversity Research Group (SYBRG) community project was led by Christine Handley and supported by Professor Ian D. Rotherham (Sheffield Hallam University). Funded by a grant from the Arts Council, it set out to record marked and worked trees and enabled SYBRG to work with two artists at community events. The collected Tree Stories were used as inspiration to create new drawings, poems and prints which were displayed in an Art Exhibition at the Art House in Sheffield.

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'The Tree Stories project takes a closer look at the mysterious marks, objects and tree ‘graffiti’ that appear on trees. The importance of these markings extends from prehistoric times and this ancient form of communication has survived to the present day with people still using trees to record messages and leave objects embedded in them. These trees with their markings can be found in surprising places, from inner city Victorian parks and gardens to great parkland landscapes in the British countryside. They may contain evocative stories and pictures distorted by time or bold deeply incised designs marking territory, sending messages across the years. Others become covered with small objects, coins, left year after year perhaps as offerings with echoes from a dimly remembered past. The project recorded some of these and inspired the works by Tansy Lee Moir and Sally Goldsmith.' From the Tree Storues booklet accompanying the exhibition.

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See also:

Photographs of the opening event »

More information about SYBRG »

Professor Ian D. Rotherham's blog »

More about my work on Tree Stories »

 

 

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Electrees exhibition

May 29, 2015 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

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Opening tonight at the Newave Gallery, Aberdeen.



Time Around Trees at St. Margaret's House

March 15, 2015 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

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Here's a look at 'Time Around Trees' in Gallery 2 St Margaret's House.

I'll be in the gallery to talk to visitors Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during the run of the show and, when it's quiet, reflecting on the work so far and where to take it next...

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Exhibitions in 2015

March 06, 2015 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

Well this is a first for me – I have work currently on show in three different parts of the country...

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Time around trees is showing at Edinburgh’s St Margaret’s House.  I have my studio on the top floor of this wonderfully creative, yet admittedly ugly building and I’ll be taking over Gallery 2 between 6th and 22nd March to show a selection of my work and that of friends Eoin Cox and Catherine Lilley.  Don’t be put off by its exterior though - if you are in the Edinburgh area it’s well worth visiting its three galleries, the busy workshop spaces and creative businesses.  There are also regular Open Studio events if you want to see what goes on behind all those doors.

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The Harley Gallery Open Exhibition is a biennial open submission exhibition in the beautifully refurbished Harley Gallery on the Welbeck Estate, Nottinghamshire.  It’s the second time my work has been selected for the show and it was great to be able to attend the opening this year, which coincided with a trip south to work on the Tree Stories project.  The standard of works was very high and I was pleased to see that the judges had chosen quite a few drawings, my favourite being Barbara Clayton’s Flow II. You can see the prize-winners here and the show runs until 12th April.

The farm shop is also pretty impressive, with the best cheese and onion pasties a hungry vegetarian artist could wish for.

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This is one of three specially created drawings for React-Reflect-Respond, showing now at Perth Museum and Art Gallery, which accompanies a touring exhibition celebrating the work of Tim Stead, in particular his sculpture.

All of my work relates to the themes of trees, woodland, natural forms and the dialogue between man and nature, exploring the vitality and complexity of tree forms made in response to their environment. The new works for this exhibition are specifically inspired by Tim Stead’s love for, and celebration of, the wayward nature of wood.  I fell in love with his furniture in Cafe Gandolfi when I first came to Scotland in the mid 1990s, in particular the way he combined powerful design with great sensitivity towards the natural beauty of the wood.

Tim Stead said that “a man can make an input which reveals nature in an altered beauty”; my ‘input’ as a visual artist consists of searching out the striking and sculptural aspects of living trees and creating images which try to capture the sense of movement in their static forms.

React-Reflect-Respond continues at Perth Museum and Art Gallery until 6th May.

There's more about all my exhibitions, past, present and future here and you can also get regular news by liking my facebook page.