Wild Woods of Wales
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Exhibition based on practice-based and theoretical research into the history, archaeology, visual representation and social background of ancient forests, to determine whether the detailed photographic examination of one small geographic area and one landscape motif can stand for the many wider aspects of landscape history, social influence and representation. Ancient forests and trees have been a mainstay of landscape representation for most of the history of art and photography. This work sought to interrogate that history of representation, alongside investigation into the social, political, archaeological and literary history of woodlands. While this is a rich vein and full of diverse works and ideas, many or most of the photographic representations of trees and woodlands explored, tended to deal with single ideas specifically related to the forest, 'specimen' trees, pollution, destruction etc. This work seeks to establish whether, using one motif of landscape topography – the tree and forest, it is possible to articulate through this imagery, a broad range of ideas around the landscape that transcends the motif itself. This exhibition afforded the opportunity to experiment with larger scale works that seemed appropriate to encourage the viewer to move beyond the surface of the image, and engage with the representations offered on a different level, which hopefully corresponded to all or part of the intentions behind the work. A solo show allows this focussed approach to take place, and to gauge audience response, not from the point of view of approbation or otherwise, but on the level of communication of ideas and understanding. Careful placement of works, judgements made about themes and ideas wishing to be communicated also play a large part in the research methodology applied to exhibitions of this kind, in addition to the general aesthetic quality one wishes to achieve.
William Feick Arts Centre, Green Mountain College, Poultney, Vermont, pp.14
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