Cumbria Crack

Art and landscape project places seven Cumbrian trees at centre stage in Grizedale Forest

Harriet working at the Glencoyne Pine
Harriet working at the Glencoyne Pine

[A] summer exhibition at the Forestry Commission’s Grizedale Forest in the Lake District is set to introduce visitors to seven unique trees and the very different landscapes that surround them.

Since November 2015, husband and wife team, photographer Rob Fraser and writer Harriet Fraser, have been taking inspiration from seven trees across Cumbria in The Long View, a project celebrating trees and landscape. Those months of work will culminate on 21 June 2017 with the publication of The Long View book and the opening of an exhibition in one of the galleries at the Grizedale visitor centre.

Rob and Harriet Fraser at the Little Asby Hawthorn as part of The Long View.
Rob and Harriet Fraser at the Little Asby Hawthorn as part of The Long View.

Rob and Harriet have photographed and written about the seven lone trees, and the landscapes around them, in all seasons and all weathers, day and night. They have also created temporary art installations at the trees, exploring place, journeys, culture and environment.

“The Grizedale Forest exhibition will include artefacts from all seven installations,” says Rob, “as well as photographs, poems, prose and even real trees.”

“We’ve walked miles in all weathers and at all times of the day and night to capture the characters of these remarkably ordinary trees,” says Harriet.

“The seven are: a hawthorn, a rowan, an alder, a pine, a sycamore, a birch and an oak. Each one stands alone and has survived and thrived in an extraordinary location. The trees and the journeys to them have inspired all sorts of ideas and thoughts and the exhibition is an opportunity to extend that thinking and encourage people to see these trees and the Cumbrian landscape in different ways.”

“When we started the project, it was all about slowly getting to know the trees and the land around them,” says Rob. “Our work is based around encounters with the natural world, a revelation of stories and a growing understanding of issues connected with specific places. We hope that The Long View exhibition and book will give people an opportunity to pause among the trees that we have come to know so well, and appreciate the value of slowing down and exploring what at first glimpse may seem ordinary but are actually quite extraordinary places.”

The Long View exhibition opens at Grizedale Forest Visitor Centre on Wednesday 21 June and the book is launched on the same date.

Hazel Stone, Arts Development Manager, Grizedale Forest says: “We are delighted to be launching The Long View exhibition in our forest gallery at Grizedale Forest as part of the contemporary exhibitions programme.”

“This exhibition beautifully connects with the forest setting and with our ambition as an organisation to provide new and enhance existing ways to connect people with the nation’s forests. This is a project about exploration, a seeking out nature, celebrating the beauty of trees and making art in and inspired by the landscape. The collaborative nature of Rob and Harriet’s practice and the significance of Grizedale being the first forest for art in the UK seem like a perfect fit, extending our aim to inspire people about art, adventure and nature at Grizedale.”

Rob and Harriet will be giving an artists’ talk at Grizedale Forest in the Yan on Saturday 22 July. Tickets for this are available online HERE.

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