Through the Woods

Through the Woods

15 November - 2 December 2017

Philip Braham - paintings | Soojin Kang - Textiles | Solange Leon - drawings
Paul Schütze - photographs | Patricia Swannell - prints
Kazuhito Takadoi - grass and twig pieces

In the window, an installation of wooden pieces by Forest + Found

At this time of year woods change, leaves fall, branches bare. These artists capture the transformation in the trees, focus on detail or use the material in different ways.

Soojin Kang's woven sculptures evoke entangled vegetation and organic forms. Silk threads and wood are combined to create wonderful and unexpected tapestries, where a branch or a part of a chair emerges as part of the weave. Her practice has been evolving from an early interest in fashion and textile design through a diverse range of media, including woven sculpture, tapestry, installation and video. Her objective is to infuse the sense and idea of emotional sustainability through craftsmanship. Soojin has been working on her full-time art practice since she graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2009.

Solange Leon’s ink and pencil drawings are created on the spot and in all weathers. Devoid of colour, in black and white, trees, bridges, river and buildings are effortlessly lined out. The liveliness of her line helps to weave the complexity of the movement of both subject and space, creating atmospheric works, as seen in her haunting drawings of forests. Frank Lloyd Wright, an immense triptych on handmade paper, recalls the woods and trees in her childhood house in Chile. Her training as an architect strongly influences her work and her passion for drawing is appreciated in her technical skill. Originally from Chile, Solange Leon lives and works in Sussex. She trained at Brighton in Printmaking and Architecture.

Paul Schütze's series of photographs convey different views of Hampstead Heath. Taken with his phone in instagram, the secret corners in the Heath are altered, scaled, changed, filtered, thus attaining a magical, almost fairy tale dimension. Branches may emerge gigantic in the foreground or the blackness of a pond reflects like an enchanted mirror. Born in Australia, Paul lives and works in London. Paul career's has spanned video, print, audio art and perfume. An award winning film-score composer, he has worked with James Turrell. A major piece of his sculptural/audio work was commissioned for the Hayward Gallery's Sonic Boom exhibition.

Patricia Swannell’s works are a meditation on time as reflected in the trees that we encounter every day. Her tree portraits in graphite convey the passage of time with the repetition of each tree’s characteristics – common name, Latin name, location and the date - echoing the endless repetition of seasons through time. At the centre of each drawing is a seed or cutting from that tree that represents both the starting point of the tree and its future. Trees, the lungs of the earth, are potent signifiers. Rooted in the earth while reaching to the sky, they connect us to both past and future human generations. Patricia's focus on environmental matters is reflected in her work for The Royal Botanic Garden Kew at Wakehurst Place. Her photography and print project Legacy; A Reciprocal Tribute, at the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Wood, Leicestershire records the growth of the woodland by photographing one family, in the same place with the background of the growing woodland, every year, over the next six decades. She completed an MA in Fine Art at City and Guilds.

Kazuhito Takadoi is inspired by the rich woodland surrounding his birthplace of Nagoya, Japan. Kazuhito grows and hand picks grasses, leaves and twigs from his garden, sowing each blade through the paper. As the grasses dry and mature they embark on a subtle colour shift, comparative to seasonal change. Kazuhito’s exquisite works are full of dichotomies: his work is both minimal, yet opulent. It is simultaneously fragile yet has strength, and combines the formality of Eastern discipline with abstraction from Western art. Kazuhito Takadoi’s interest in shadows is an important dimension to his grass, wood and twig sculptures, “As the light changes or the point of view is moved, so the shadows will create a new perspective.” Kazuhito trained in Agriculture and Horticulture in Japan the US and in the UK, before studying Art and Garden Design in the UK. His works are in important private and corporate art collections.

Abigail Booth & Max Bainbridge work collaboratively under their studio practice Forest + Found. They work with wood, natural pigments and textiles, to produce sculptural and wall based works. Bainbridge works on sculptures, taking the natural forms of the material as a starting point for carving and working sections of wood into anthropological objects, and Booth produces large, abstract textile pieces that deconstruct the language of drawing and painting using natural pigments to produce fragmented compositions on the wall. Specialising in building relationships between grounded objects and the abstract, liminal space in their textiles, they create installations that allow audiences to interact spatially and conceptually with their work. Architectural structures, ancient landscape and cultural objects are all starting points for physical process and visual compositions. A silver birch from Epping Forest gives life to the series of vessels in our window installation Born in 1991, they studied Fine Art at Chelsea College of Arts before setting up their studio, Forest + Found, in late 2014.

Philip Braham is a Scottish artist whose paintings and photographs emerge from the Northern European engagement with landscape as a metaphor for the human condition. Fidelity to experience is fundamental to his practice, and this brings a poetic grace to his technical mastery of oil painting and silver-based photography. The paintings in the exhibition immerse the viewer in an atmospheric and haunting landscape. Philip Braham graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in 1980, followed by a Postgraduate at the Royal Academy of Fine Art in Holland and was a visiting artist at the University of California at Los Angeles. Braham’s paintings and photographs are held in many public and private collections and art foundations. Among the awards received are the prestigious Royal Scottish Academy Guthrie Award for painting, and the Royal Scottish Academy Morton Award for lens-based work.