Arboretum The Art of Trees; the Aborealists and other Artists An overview by Michael Toseland


One simple word that evokes an inexplicable feeling of warmth within us. Perhaps because of our age old symbiosis of keeper of shelter and protector, of providing the very oxygen that sustains us, and the very surroundings that astound us with their beauty.

Maybe a personal view, but I can guarantee something is evoked within you at the sight of these ancient giants. My Yorkshire heritage is inexplicably awakened with the sight of a landscape in its natural state, something is stirred.

On entering this show, I’m sure that the urge for nature and the natural state of things will be touched upon in yourself.

When thought of, an imagine that we all instantly conjure up in our minds is a great vastness of green or for me personally my very first tree painting, a big brown trunk and a splodge of green paint on top straight from the nearest tube (no mixing needed).

This however is as much about the sensuality and texture of the forms they take as the actual subjects themselves.

The dominant feature being ‘Cloud’ a piece by Gareth Edwards central to the space and intriguingly linear, delicate and fragile.

Gareth Edwards 'Cloud'

Gareth Edwards ‘Cloud’

Highlighting the ever present conflict between man made and organic, elegant bare branches burst atop scaffolding beams. Rather a great comparison, a high flight of scaffolding is the ultimate man made tree house.

These are elegant and beautiful as well as holding a sense of the sinister.

The cynicism lies in our love/fear relationship with forestry and nature. The beauty of it and our fear of its power. Who hasn’t seen a horror film with some poor chap lost in a darkened creaking wood, seemingly never ending, solitary and terrifying.

The trees take on an alternate personality as soon as they shed their clothes. As the imposing Jeckel and Hyde characters that they are.

This polar of personalities is perfectly highlighted in Tim Craven’s Little Norton and Impton.

Tim Craven

Tim Craven  Little Norton and Impton

Scattered flat plane abstractions fill our eyes with texture as in the scattered bones of seasons past.

Twig collection by Fiona Hingston is a very interesting piece in relation to this thought.

Fiona hingston

Fiona Hingston

Are these twigs, or archaeological remains, you could be forgiven for thinking the latter.

It is interesting how something of such colour, such vibrancy and variation leads us to nine times out of ten favour the monochromatic.

This is highlighted in the beautifully delicate drawings of Celia de Serra

Ceilia de serra

Celia de Serra

Up rooted trees are avast with texture so much so that any colour would detract from the sheer beauty of it.

This is a show of details and the finite and this is where we find the sublime beauty of nature, in its complexity it offers more that we can see at a glance. Layer upon layer not to speak of the microbial that offer even more astounding complexity.

This is a narration of trees but more our relationship with them, the strange things we see in their form, our fear of the dark forest of unknowable monsters to our saviour on a rainy day when we forget our umbrella.

The complete subjectivity, elegance and sublime nature of these wonderous natural works of art.


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