Art & History

Into the Woods: Artist gently shapes forests to create artworks made entirely from nature

Into the Woods is a new exhibition by young British photographer Ellie Daviesthat showcases her new work from the series ‘Half Light’, alongside her earlier bodies of work created over the past seven years in forests across the UK.

The forest is of course Ellie’s studio. Working alone she responds to, and alters, the landscape with a series of temporary interventions, such as making and building, creating pools of light on the forest floor, or using craft materials such as paint and wool. A golden tree is introduced into a thicket to shimmer in the darkness, painted paths snake through the undergrowth, and strands of wool are woven between trees. The final images are a culmination of these elements and each piece draws on its specific location. Using handmade sculptural elements, she superimposes her personal narratives on the landscape.

She explains: “Growing up in the New Forest in the south of England, I spent my childhood exploring and playing in the woods with my twin sister. I consider my relationship with these places, my ongoing attempt to reconnect with the wilder landscapes of my youth and to discover if those remembered and imagined places can be found and captured again.”

Over thousands of years, UK forests have been shaped by human processes and represent the confluence of nature and culture, of natural landscape and human activity. Forests are potent symbols in folklore, fairy tale and myth, places of enchantment and magic as well as of danger and mystery. In recent cultural history they have come to be associated with psychological states relating to the unconscious. Against this cultural backdrop Ellie’s ongoing work explores the fabricated nature of the landscape to create a hinterland between reality and fantasy. She encourages the viewer to re-evaluate the ways in which their relationship with the landscape is formed, and to what extent this is a product of cultural heritage or personal experience.

Into The Woods will run from 21st July to 20th August 2016 at the Crane Kalman Gallery, 178 Brompton Road, London SW1 1HQ.

Via direct submission | All images courtesy of Crane Kalman Gallery

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