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Five parts ranging between 1.5m sq and 2m sq
Acrylic, stainless steel, leaves
Commissioned for the Westonbirt Festival of the Garden, Gloucestershire
Text taken from the Westonbirt Festival of the Garden Guide 2004 by Sam Wilkinson, InSite Arts Ltd:
Experimentation, observation of change and the natural environment
underpin the ephemeral installation by Claire Morgan. Surprising
materials, impossible structures and the use of space have established
Claire as a young artist who continues to move in challenging
The contemporary creation of a series of ceiling-like panels suspended
in the trees creates an inferred solid sky of leaves for viewers to
look towards and contemplate. Over the life of the exhibition these
leaves will fulfill their natural course of decay. This visual change
will ensure each visitor's experience will be slightly different.
In collecting a variety of leaves from around the Arboretum Claire
reminds us of the vast range of trees and species that co-exist in the
collection, some indigenous but many here as result of Holford's
fascination and desire to collect from other landscapes throughout the
world. Many of the trees in the Arboretum are exceptionally rare, their
future more secure here as part of this collection than back in their
indigenous habitat. This installation brings this diversity, in origin,
form, colour and anticipated lifespan of the trees and suspends them
for us to consider and marvel at.
Claire's piece brings together a wide array of different leaves in a relatively small area - something that cannot occur naturally in the Arboretum. This close proximity concentrates the experience and message. The Arboretum is a magnificent achievement and an ongoing resource for the foreseeable future, but the individual tree specimens do not last forever, like the leaves in the canopy.
Claire asks people through her installation not only to consider the tree canopy in the Victory Glade at Westonbirt, but also to look closely at how the natural vegetation of the Arboretum is born, grows, and then decays and disappears, an often beautiful and overlooked process. Year in year out the many varieties of deciduous trees bud and thereby dramatically demonstrate their life, but it is a very short time later that their leaves die away until the following year.
Photos by Claire Morgan.