23rd October 2018
“You Can’t See the Trees for the Woods’’ A photographic exhibition by Marion Sidebottom, MA, ARPS
Marion was the Artist-in-Residence in Epping Forest from April 2017 to March 2018. She is an award-winning photographer, educated with an unusual mix of a science degree and Masters of Art, and is also an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society. She was awarded Arts Council England Funding for her year-long project called “You Can’t See the Trees for the Woods”.
The residency was in two parts and resulted in two exhibitions in Epping Forest. This exhibition at the new exhibition centre at RHS Hyde Hall combines both parts into one large exhibition, along with new previously unseen work.
Part 1 is called ‘Ancient Tree Portraits of Epping Forest’ which are photographic portraits of trees that were chosen due to factors such as their ancient age and ecological importance, many have quirky shapes and forms.
The second part ‘Ancient Trees & the People of Epping Forest’, tells the story of some of the people who live, work, study and visit the forest that Marion encountered. She interviewed and recorded people, photographed their work and took part in activities in the forest. This included going up 100 feet in the forest canopy with the Conservation Arborists, studying woodland ecology with the Field Studies Council, tagging along with walking groups, conservation volunteers and spending time with a mycologist and a naturalist.
The previously unseen work includes a collection of black and white prints called ‘Roots & Bark’, and a colourful collection of seasonal images of the forest taken throughout the year.
The exhibition includes photographic prints, an image slideshow with sound bites, and photomontage artworks of the tree stories. In the artworks, things are not what they seem, perspective and scale are altered, and objects appear in unusual places. Each is multi-layered both visually and in meaning and will represent different things to people according to their knowledge of the forest and environmental issues or they can be viewed purely from an artistic perspective.