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Artist’s work has trees watching humans

Posted onPosted on 15th Aug

A photographic exhibition that focuses on ‘eyes’ found in trees has gone on display among the trees in Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve.

Visual artist Gary Dawes has created a series of works titled LOOKER – Watchers of the Forest, which aims to raise awareness to the threats faced by trees, woodlands and forests around the world – the first exhibition of its kind to be displayed on the Major Oak Trail at the Edwinstowe reserve.

LOOKER is part of a land-art project, Outsider, which Gary started in 2017, with the idea of exhibiting his photographs in a natural setting, away from traditional indoor gallery spaces.

“Forests stir the primordial imagination and serve as a setting in countless myth and folklore tales,” he said. “Arboreal forms, colours, and textures have a beauty in their own right. I feel a deep affinity with the natural world, and that’s something I try to express in my work.”

Gary, who is self-taught, added: “My photographs reflect my own personal view on the demise and destruction of our trees. They focus on the eye formations beautifully created by the trees themselves, which ironically mirrors the very problem — humankind.”

Having relocated to Nottinghamshire almost a decade ago, Gary also hopes his exhibition will pave the way for other creatives across the region, explaining: “By fusing together art and nature here in Sherwood Forest, I hope to open up more opportunities that may help other independent artists like myself because I know how hard it can be to find spaces to get your work exhibited and seen by new audiences.”

Jess Dumoulin, visitor experience manager at Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve, said: “Much of our conservation work at Sherwood is dedicated to the protection of our magnificent ancient oak trees which have survived here for hundreds of years.

“They really have seen many things during those centuries, so Gary’s work provides a thought-provoking perspective, turning the tables on us as viewers or admirers of the trees to highlight a very topical issue for the natural world.”

Gary’s exhibition can be seen until November.

You can find out more about his work on his website.