/07 Trees

Nicholas Hughes

In Darkness Visible (Verse I)

This body of work made between 2005-2007 continues my examination into our relationship with nature. In common with the themes of previous works, these images seek to illustrate the frail residue of the contemporary wilderness.

Whilst the tree has long worn the mantle of allegoric symbol and the oceanic expanse has born witness to metaphoric reflection, new concern has tempered interpretation of the land and sea of our survival. The wonderment inherent in one’s experience of the beautiful and sublime is stretched by the proximity of the ecological imperative.

The city park offers an escape valve – a window leading the weary city dweller to reconstructed, consumable nature. Although the essence of these spaces can appear pseudo-natural, some of these great trees actually predate the infrastructure of the city, and despite their accommodated appearance have witnessed centuries of human endeavour.

In reaction to our media led sensory anaesthetisation, and worn by the inadequacy of late political rhetoric, I have constructed in camera a forest built from accumulated memory and the ghosts of trees. Spending a period of two winters’ visiting public spaces in central London, this work inverts decorative Arcadian layout in an attempt to restore a sense of the natural in the cultivated, somewhat synthetic city ‘wilderness’ space.

These works aim to provide an emotive and atmospheric lament for that deeply ingrained aspect of the human psyche, our deeply held association with the primeval forest as spiritual home, which is lost, but which, in contemplating these visual idylls may be exhumed.

Nicholas Hughes, 2012