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Tree Teacher Tree

Rachel Howard
51°47'38.2"N 2°12'41.5"W
14 May – 17 September 2021

Tree Teacher Tree resides along a public footpath in a secluded hollow, a stream runs close by, the works nestle on the dell floor or amongst the trees, such as Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press’s Rear View Mirror 2020, a reference to what kind of review nature might give mankind. Banner has also placed a flagstone with its own ISBN, it is an official publication in and of itself. Flagstones are usually associated with the city to keep the earth and roots below and things smooth, even and mudless on top, here the woodland floor can grow and envelope the hand engraved stone. Is it a tomb or a tome, or a story about concrete or footsteps or roots or routes taken?

Emily Joy has worked within the dell; repositioning, altering or obscuring found rocks. Exploring cultural ideas of land and landscape, wilderness, nostalgia and loss, ‘Portals’ 2021 is a series of works in which erasure isolates elements of the landscape, a process akin to whittling down or erosion. Scale and contours change; a scene of mountain grandeur is focused to the intimate scale of a stone, a forest sharpened down to a mossy tump.

Colin Glen’s ‘The Clearing’ 2021, is the partial recreation of an intimate domestic space, whose dimensions are drawn out in whitened timber, it is the ghost memory of projected experience. Its framework delineating an absence that stimulates a relationship with the presence of the natural world. The physical shift of imposing a built structure, combined with the visual sense of removal (no walls or ceiling), engenders the sense of being in place, combined with an awareness of how intertwined real and imagined experience is.

‘Consider the Risk’ 2020 by Polly Morgan deals with issues of containment, control and concealment. The corset like concrete and cast polystyrene structure struggles to contain a snake that contorts and spills from the openings, alluding to the distorting effect that social media has on our physical selves, especially of late, confined to our homes, communicating via binary code, shaping our restricted lives.

In a year where we have been forced to retreat to our homes, nature has become more present in our psyche and been of such solace. These four artists are guests of the wood for only a few months; Tree Teacher Tree is an acknowledgement of the natural world around us. This show is organised by artist Rachel Howard. Tree Teacher Tree is accessible via public
footpath.