a calming source of inspiration….
Here at Artspring Gallery we are frequently inspired by themes from nature. Spending time in the natural world provides calm and respite from the daily routine. Walking in nature is a meditative process for many, and has been shown to improve wellbeing.
Trees are one of the commonest themes found in Artspring Gallery. So today, while galleries across the country are closed, I will explore a few tree related artworks and videos to offer some moments of quiet and inspiration.
One of the shows currently on in london that I was due to visit is ‘Among the Trees’ at the Hayward Gallery.
It has had mixed reviews, but there are some fascinating works, including a dense cardboard thicket, and two ‘trees’ carved from an enormous wooden beam.
Both are shown in the virtual tour below.
David Nash’s recent exhibition ‘200 seasons’ at Towner Eastbourne was a celebration of trees, both alive and dead.
Nash points out that ‘wood’ is the product that we have when a tree has died…. and yet we talk of ‘walking in the woods’…..
I found the videos about his living sculpture ‘Ash Dome’, planted in 1977 at his Welsh home, particularly beautiful. The sculpture is not intended for public viewing, and sadly is suffering from Ash Dieback disease.
If you would like to find out more about David Nash’s work then this interview is well worth a watch.
So what are the trees that inspire us most as artists?
The mighty oak
The mighty oak features large in the gallery. There is something about its stature and shape that appeals, as is so elegantly displayed in this etching by Claire Longley.
Oak trees were originally planted in large numbers to support ship building industries. How lucky we are that many survive.
Mark Welland‘s photographic work includes an ongoing project around a single oak tree. Now fallen, the oak is represented with multiple layers and colour palettes, painstakingly embedded in resin.
Caroline Fraser recently spent time on a residency in Wales, where she discovered the ancient oak forest of Ty Canol.
Using multiple exposure and post-capture manipulation Caroline has tried to represent the powerful forces of nature’s elements on a wild Welsh moorland.
Also drawn to the woods for inspiration is artist Ruth McDonald.
A walk in the woods
Here is a work entitled ‘Walk in the woods’. There is so much to enjoy about the randomness and disorder of nature when out in the woods. A welcome relief from the tidyness and order of suburband and city landscapes. A place for the mind to unwind and recharge.
The sinuous shapes of trunks and branch make for an great abstract design on Anne McArdle’s enamel creations.
I could go on…. but you probably have better things to do
Like go for a walk and talk to some trees….
I will leave you with words by one of my favourite poets, Mary Oliver.
WHEN I AM AMONG THE TREES
by Mary Oliver
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”