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Artists announced for Jerwood Open Forest

News blog

Artists announced for Jerwood Open Forest

Hazel Stone

From an excellent response of almost 500 diverse and ambitious proposals, five artists have been selected to develop proposals for a major new £30,000 commission.

Rebecca Beinart, Magz Hall, Keith Harrison, David Rickard and David Turley will each receive a £2,000 research and development fee with which to expand on the concept of their proposals, test feasibility and explore potential sites within England’s Public Forest Estate.

Rebecca Beinart, Imagined Geographies, 2015 Photo Courtesy of Susan Guy & National Trust.

Each artist will benefit from a six-month research and development period and take part in a group exhibition in November at Jerwood Space, London. In addition to being supported by the teams at Jerwood Charitable Foundation and Forestry Commission England, they will attend a programme of developmental activities as a peer group including workshops and advisory sessions alongside one-to-one mentoring sessions. The artist selected for the commission will be announced towards the end of 2016.

For this second edition of Jerwood Open Forest, artists from across the UK and within 15 years of beginning their practice were once more invited to submit bold, broad-thinking proposals which explored the potential for forests as a site for art. The initiative contributes to a national conversation about how contemporary visual artists engage with the environment today, and debates around critical practice and art in the public realm.

Rebecca Beinart’s proposal explores the relationship between care and loss through an ambitious live work bringing together a collection of stories about lost trees, personal experience and wider themes of deforestation and collective memory, experienced as a series of one-to-one encounters.

Magz Hall, Installing at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 2015. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Keith Harrison, Joy Ride, 2015. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Sound and radio artist Magz Hall will develop an interactive trail of radio transmissions through the forest, playfully enabling trees to whisper to each other. She envisages members of the public recording their secrets and dreams into simple radio hardware disguised within a tree.

Keith Harrison proposes to work with BMXers to construct a series of mud jumps through the forest, and the public launching of a prototype car formed from the same mud in a multi-faceted performative sculpture that brings together industrial forces within the context of the forest.

David Rickard We are all Astronauts, 2015. Photo courtesy of the artist and Copperfield Gallery.

David Turley, The Men of the Trees, Forestry Notebook from 1947. Photo courtesy of the artist.

David Rickard’s proposal Returnings uses reclaimed timber from across the UK, imprinting each piece with details of its previous location and function, in a vast forest installation which explores the cyclical journey of the forest’s trees.

David Turley’s proposal centres on a ‘Men of the Trees Forestry Diary’ from 1947, which documents the daily life of a man planting trees in Orlestone Forest, near Ashford, Kent. The work will engage with social and cultural events described in the notebook’s pages and its specific historical narrative.  

The selection has been made by leading practitioners and project partners: Katherine Clarke - Artist and founding partner of muf architecture/art; Neville Gabie - Artist; Shonagh Manson - Director, Jerwood Charitable Foundation; Hayley Skipper - National Arts Development Programme Manager, Forestry Commission England; Dr Joy Sleeman - Writer, curator and lecturer.

‘The range of imaginative approaches to forest environments represented by the five shortlisted artists is indicative of the rich inspiration such places inspire. The artists will each be embracing aspirations to bring new experiences into forests – whether by engaging with their human history, their relationship with their urban surroundings or through an intimate engagement with individual trees.’ Joy Sleeman, selector

For further information and updates during the research and development period from April-November 2016 please visit: