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The Arborealists- The Art of Trees 2017
December 12, 2017 @ 10:00 am - January 13, 2018 @ 6:00 pm
The Arborealists: The Art of Trees 2017
curated by Philippa Beale
12 December 2017-13 January 2018
The appearance of the Arborealists in 2013 is an extraordinary phenomenon within the pervading orthodoxy in an art world that values post modernist objects, film and popular culture. Where events, interventions and installations engage the viewer, what can ‘tree painters’ (the Arborealists are for the most part painters), offer a public that is understandably titillated by Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst. Nevertheless, the incredible success of the David Hockney exhibition at the Tate proves that the general public are still interested in artists who reveal nature.
In recent years, many artists have discovered that trees have become one of their most penetrating of influences. The story of their existence and survival is intrinsic to our history and culture, they are even a part of our political landscape. They are a metaphor for our own survival. They live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. As ‘specimens’, they also can stand alone, not out of choice but like brave, solitary people who stand up to be counted, like ‘the one just man’ who does not remain silent when evil is done.
Trees represent the holy, the exemplary, the beautiful and the strength required of mankind. Cut down a tree and it reveals its whole history in the rings of its trunk, all its scars, struggles and suffering. The attacks of axe, saw and storms leave scars but as every forester knows, the hardest woods have the narrowest rings and it is in the most infertile places that the strongest and most indestructible trees grow. Trees permeate our history providing inspiration for religions, literature, poetry, visual art and architecture.
Vaux en Couhé, France, May 2017
Excerpt from the exhibition catalogue.