THE infinite inspiration and beauty of trees is the subject of the new exhibition, The Arborealists and Guests: the Art of the Tree, at The Young Gallery at Salisbury, from 2nd to 24th August .
The show features work by 40 Arborealists and nine guest artists, and is curated by Peter Riley. The exhibitors include artists with international reputations, among them Jemma Appleby, Philippa Beale and Fiona McIntyre. Among the local artists are the distinguished wood engraver Howard Phipps and Paul Newman, whose detailed drawings are a marvel of observation.
United by their subject, the artists employ a diverse range of working practices: scale, medium, philosophy, style and technique. Trees provide a wonderfully versatile subject for artists, not only in terms of a rich variety of form, texture and colour but also through – myth, folklore, religious and symbolic significance.
In Britain trees have inspired artists throughout art history from Gainsborough and Constable through to the Pre-Raphaelites, the Neo-Romantics and the Ruralists. Piet Mondrian and Victor Pasmore used the tree as a device to turn abstract and Paul Nash famously stated that he loved and worshipped trees and believed they were people.
The Arborealists group was founded in 2013 by artist and then curator at Southampton City Art Gallery Tim Craven, following the seminal exhibition Under the Greenwood: Picturing the British Tree, staged at St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery, Lymington.
The movement has members from Wales and the borders to East Anglia and London and every southern county from Kent to Cornwall. Outposts include France and Ireland.
Pictured: The Lake at Vaux by Philippa Beal.