The Art of Trees at Mottisfont Abbey


Arborealists: The Art of Trees

19 September - 15 November 11am - 5pm


Our new exhibition celebrates the art of trees through paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture this autumn. Created especially for us, 'Arborealists: the Art of Trees' draws on a rich tradition of the tree as a vital subject for art.

Trees have proved an important source of artistic inspiration for centuries. From John Constable to David Hockney, artists have employed the largest plant on earth as a metaphor, symbol, decoration and stylistic device.

A new group of contemporary artists called the Arborealists are now adding fresh work to this tradition. Following a highly successful exhibition at the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol, the Arborealists are creating a unique show for Mottisfont, which will include new work exhibited for the first time.

Centred on the single subject of the tree, a versatile and rich subject for art, a key feature of the group is diversity of art practice with regard to medium, scale, philosophy, style and technique.
On display will be intricate pencil drawings of root systems, gorgeous autumnal colours and beautiful natural sculpture. Minutely detailed drawings, delicate wood engravings and fine etchings resonate with vibrant, and expressive watercolours and oil paintings. Complex trees drawn from life will contrast with conceptual forest landscapes.

Former National Trust forester John Surplice has worked on fallen trees found around the grounds and estate to reveal spectacular sculptural forms. Lizzie Sykes worked with older performers' group Mind the Gap as part of an artist's residency at Mottisfont to create The Greeting, a film that grew from the group's responses to trees here.

Full list of appearing artists: Robert Amesbury-Brookes, Jemma Appleby, Ann Arnold, Graham Arnold, Mary Anne Aytoun-Ellis, Jo Barry, Philippa Beale, John Blandy, Hannah Brown, Peter Clossick, Gary Colclough, Marcus Cornish, Tim Craven, Dalschaert and Brandy, Michelle Dovey, Kurt Jackson, Abi Kremer, Ffiona Lewis, Hannah Maybank, Fiona McIntyre, Alexander Pemberton, Howard Phipps, Michael Porter, Julian Perry, Nick Schlee, Celia de Serra, Lesley Slight, Angela Summerfield, John Surplice and Lizzie Sykes.