The Arborealists: Trees and the Sacred
Norwich Cathedral’s Hostry will host the exhibition The Arborealists: Trees and the Sacred from 28 April until 28 May 2022.
In this Jubilee year of The Queen’s Green Canopy project, this exhibition will present new work by The Arborealists and guests on the broad-brush theme of trees and the sacred.
It will aim to articulate the profound, spiritual essence of sacred sites and ideas especially through the significance and emotive power of trees. Indeed, a tree can be the central element of a sacred place leading the eye and the mind skyward.
The exhibition will showcase the work of 52 artists who have drawn from nature, faith, folklore or historic environments that held a special mystical importance for our ancestors. The exhibition will engender a sense of peace and well-being, as well perhaps of mystery, and encourage a desire for contemplation and connection to a higher plane appropriate for a cathedral gallery space.
Trees provide a wonderfully versatile subject for artists, not only in terms of the rich variety of form, texture and colour they provide, whether individually or collectively, but also through the wealth of association – myth, folklore, religious and symbolic significance, that they have come to embody over many centuries.
In Britain, trees as a subject have inspired artists from Gainsborough and Constable through to the Pre-Raphaelites, the Neo-Romantics and the Ruralists. Piet Mondrian and Victor Pasmore used the tree as a device to turn abstract and Paul Nash famously stated that he loved and worshipped trees and believed they were people.
The Arborealists were founded in 2013 by artist and curator Tim Craven following the seminal exhibition Under the Greenwood: Picturing the British Tree, staged at St Barbe Museum & Art Gallery, Lymington, in the heart of the New Forest. The Arborealists are a loose association of some 50 professional artists of diverse art practice who share the subject of the tree. Although united by their subject, the artists employ a diverse range of working practices: scale, medium, philosophy, style and technique. The results are by turn dramatic and contemplative, expressive, abstracted, hyperreal and surreal and they demonstrate that trees still have a deep relevance in contemporary art and retain their power to move us as a vital element in our landscape.
The group is far flung with members from Wales and the borders to East Anglia and London and every southern county from Kent to Cornwall. The group enjoys a national profile and has already staged 25 exhibitions to acclaim in the UK, France and Gibraltar with many more planned for the future, including site-specific projects. They have also produced 7 illustrated publications to compliment the exhibitions.
The Arborealists: Trees and the Sacred will be at Norwich Cathedral’s Hostry from 28 April until 28 May 2022. The exhibition will be open seven days a week from 10am to 4pm (3pm on Sundays) and entry is free.