Recently, on a bus travelling through Oxford I glimpsed some enormous tree trunks in the forecourt of the Pitt Rivers Museum. They were an installation called ‘Ghost Forest’, an exhibition of rainforest tree trunks shipped to London by artist Angela Palmer and first shown in Trafalgar Square to highlight the alarming depletion of the world’s natural resources, and in particularly the continued rate of deforestation. This work was a starting point for my own installation, ‘Forest Echo’, which fills the front room/studio of my house.
A large part of my work as a sculptor has developed from a study of organic forms. I believe it possible that humans have eveloved with an unconscious awareness of the anatomy of plants and animals and that this allows me to draw visual parallels between them and human feelings and relationships. These are the resonances that I try to uncover and exploit in my sculpture.
Art has been used by all societies as a part of their strategy for the maintenance of their particular society or culture. Art is just one of the languages humans have employed for their survival. Societies have also developed the languages of science and business for understanding and manipulating the natural world: the landscape, the plants and the animals that share this planet with us. It seems to me that art steps in where other ‘languages’ cannot serve our needs and it has been used, like magic or religion, to explain and control the mystery of our existence and of our consciousness.
Whilst we cannot always grasp the full meaning of the art of the past because of distance nor that of other societies because of differences in culture, nevertheless we are able to recognise the mysteries they were grappling with, since these remain fundamentally unchanged.
Visual art covers many areas of human experience and I am interested in exploring the human and emotional side of our relationship to the natural world and the ‘big questions’ we have about ourselves as creatures of consciousness.
We spend comparatively little time reflecting upon our unique position on earth and possibly in the universe. Today, as we shrink our planet and transform the unexplored, mysterious and secret places of the world into clones of western culture, I believe it is ever more important for us to reconnect to the natural world of the mysterious, the secret and the unexplored.
My installation for CEOS 2011 is not intended to be viewed as a collection of objects, or even a peculiar artifact, but as a stirring of the imagination and a recognition of our need for the mysterious and unknowable. It is about the things we glimpse in the natural world, the wild things we attempt to control at our peril, the plants and animals whose existence contribute to our definition as humans.
‘Forest Echo’ is about that part of us that needs to celebrate the natural world and embrace an ‘otherness’ we can never truly understand.
|Duration||07 May 2011 - 08 May 2011|
|Times||11 am - 6pm|
|Venue||Original Gallery, Haringey Park, N8 and my studio|
|Address||c/o 3 Sandringham gardens London N8 9HU, ,|
|Contact||/ firstname.lastname@example.org / www.crouchendopenstudios.co.uk|