Ellie Davies – Smoke & Mirrors Private View
It was a lovely evening and fantastic to see all Ellie’s photographs exhibited together, displaying a consistent body of work.
The exhibition is showing until September
Below is the forward that Miranda wrote for the exhibition
Forward by Miranda Gavin, Hotshoe Magazine
Smoke and Mirrors presents five series’ of landscape work by photographer Ellie Davies created between 2008-2011 in The New Forest. From her earliest work, Silent, Dark and Deep and Islands, to her recent bodies of work, Knit One, Pearl One (2011), and Come with Me (2011), Davies has intervened in areas of the forest landscape to create images that express her relationship to the forest. And though each body of work stands alone as a distinct series, together they trace the trajectory of Davies’ on-going exploration of the forest as a cultural landscape.
Located on the south coast of England, The New Forest is a landscape that has been shaped by human processes over thousands of years and includes ancient woodlands and timber plantations. As such, the forest represents the confluence of nature and culture, of natural landscape and human activity. Forests are potent symbols in folklore, fairy tale and myth; places of enchantment and magic as well as of danger and mystery. In recent cultural history they have come to be associated with psychological states relating to the unconscious.
Against this cultural backdrop, Davies performs small acts of engagement as she responds to the landscape using a variety of strategies, such as creating pools of light on the forest floor, as well as using craft materials such as paint and wool. The final images all capture the culmination of her artistic forays in the forest; a golden tree introduced into a thicket shimmers in the darkness, painted paths snake through the undergrowth, and strands of wool are woven between trees.
Davies’ interventions, however, are more than decoration; they represent a personal and intuitive response to a specific environment, one that is both a World Heritage site and a National Park. In the process of producing these photographs, Davies transforms the natural world before her as she throws light into darkness and sews through nature; at once locating and connecting herself physically, if only for a short time, to the space of the forest. Finally, Davies, who often works alone, frames the space photographically and captures the end result of her mark making.
These altered landscapes operate on a number of levels. They are a reflection of Davies’ inner world, a meditation on universal themes relating to the psyche, and call into question the concept of landscape as a social and cultural construct.