2016/01/27

The Arborealists: The Art of the Tree

ADVANCE INFORMATION

The Arborealists: The Art of the Tree
With essays by Angela Summerfield and Peter Davies

Publication date:  April 2016 
Price:  £20  softback


Trees provide a wonderfully versatile subject for artists, not only in  terms of the incredible diversity of form, character and colour they provide, whether individually or collectively, but also in terms of the  wealth of association, myth, folklore, religious and symbolic significance which they have come to embody. In Britain they have  inspired artists from Gainsborough and Constable through to Paul Nash, the Neo-Romantics and the Ruralists.  

The Arborealists grew out of the exhibition Under the Greenwood:  Picturing British Trees – Present held in 2013 at St. Barbe Museum & Art Gallery, an exploration of contemporary artists' responses to the  tree. Such was the impact of the show and the spirit of camaraderie engendered in a truly diverse group of artists that they took on a more  permanent identity. Under the Arborealists' banner a loose association of artists, including such luminaries as David Inshaw, have  come together for exhibitions in galleries across the south. The thirty-seven artists who have contributed to this book include Jemma  Appleby, Ann and Graham Arnold, Mary Anne Aytoun-Ellis,  Buckmaster and French, Tim Craven, Michelle Dovey, Ffiona Lewis, Annie Ovenden, Julian Perry, Howard Phipps, Michael Porter,  Wladyslaw Mirecki and Angela Summerfield. 

The work included in this lavishly illustrated book, at turns dramatic  and contemplative, demonstrates that trees still have a relevance in contemporary art and retain the power to move us all as a vital  element in our landscape and sense of national identity. 


  • Essay by Royal Academy Senior Curator sets out the historical and international background to artists' relationships with trees (inc. Gainsborough, Constable, Van Gogh, Munch, Klimt etc.)
  • The first study on one of the most significant British artist groups to emerge in the 21st century
  • Features previously unpublished images and personal insights into the work of these contemporary painters
  • Will appeal equally to lovers of art, nature and the British countryside
  • Lavishly illustrated throughout 


Published in conjunction with an exhibition at St Barbe Gallery, Lymington 
23 April – 4 June 2016 



To look inside the book, please click on the cover image above


Extent: 128pp
Size: 270 x 210mm
Illustrations: over 70 full colour
Binding: softback
Price: £20

ISBN: 978-1-908326-86-7



Sansom & Co
81g Pembroke Road
Clifton
Bristol BS8 3EA

www.sansomandcompany.co.uk 

2016/01/07

Next exhibition

The Arborealists will stage their third exhibition at St Barbe Museum and Art gallery, Lymington. The Arborealists , 23rd April – 4th June 2016, will feature new works by 35 artists  and each will show just one work to emphasise the diversity of art practice prevalent within the group – in terms of size, medium, style and philosophy.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a new publication on the group. This will include an introduction on art historical links, the origins and development of the group by Tim Craven, an essay entitled “Why do Artists Paint Trees” by Dr Angela Summerfield, an essay entitled “Cultivation of Trees and western Culture” by Philippa Beale and a survey on of the work by the exhibiting artists by art historian Peter Davies. The catalogue will be fully illustrated together with a statement by each artist.

St Barbe is an excellent art gallery in the heart of the New Forest and was the venue for the group’s originating exhibition, Under the Greenwood: Picturing the British Tree in 2013. It’s great to be back with more and new artists!



Ann Arnold 1936-2015

Ann Arnold exhibited with the Arborealists at The Royal West of England Academy, Bristol, in 2014 and at Mottisfont Abbey NT, Romsey, in 2015. She also showed in the seminal Under the Greenwood: Picturing the British Tree exhibition at St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery, Lymington, in 2013 – the originating exhibition for the Arborealists. Ann was a brilliant artist with an strong personal, pastoral vision and she will be sorely missed.

Ann was born in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and brought up in Surrey. She was educated at Sutton High School for Girls. Despite being beset by illness, she graduated in painting at Epsom School of Art. Also in Epsom she was introduced to the Burgh Heath Centre for the care of young people with mental illness, where a range of the arts, music, drama and especially painting were employed as therapy. At the forefront of a new profession, Ann trained to become an art therapist, working in many hospitals and she also assisted with setting-up the first degree course. Ann later founded the Association of Art Therapists. In 1961 she married the painter Graham Arnold and together they, and David Inshaw founded the Broadheath Brotherhood of artists, the forerunner of the celebrated Brotherhood of Ruralists of which she was also a member. 
The Brotherhood of Ruralists staged its inaugural exhibition at The Royal Academy in 1976. The seven members who included Peter Blake of Pop Art fame, proclaimed to express through personal vision and experience of their native heritage, a celebration of the English countryside. A ruralist is defined as someone who moves to the country from the city, and this was largely true of the group. The brotherhood believed that Romanticism was a neglected strand in British art, and that if re-introduced, might solve some of the problems that they believed were rife in much of contemporary painting. They looked for inspiration to the art of William Blake, Samuel Palmer and the Brotherhood of Ancients, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and to Victorian painting, design and photography in general. They profoundly disagreed with the view espoused by modern art orthodoxy that the sensibility and practice of their favourite nineteenth century artists were merely an eccentric dead-end and marginal to the progression of mainstream western art.

The Ruralists’ unfashionable stance however struck a chord and with assistance from substantial media publicity (including a BBC film) and various sell-out touring exhibitions, enjoyed huge popular success. Espousing a Romantic approach to art and life, their vision is encapsulated by a John Piper quote as: of something significant beyond ordinary significance, something that for a moment seems to contain the whole world and when that moment is past carries over comment on life or experience besides the comment on appearances.

In 1974 Ann and Graham moved to south west Shropshire where they acquired a steep hill of 50 acres. With the help of a tree specialist friend, they planted 6,000 trees on the hill. Ann was continuously inspired to draw and paint the surrounding landscape and she exhibited widely, at prestigious galleries throughout the UK and as far afield as Berlin and Tokyo to universal acclaim. Ann was an academician of the South West Academy of Fine and Applied Arts.

Tim Craven