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Press Release: One Forest, Seven Artists - A Weekend Exhibition in the Wilds of Rural Galloway

15.8.2023

Discover intriguing artworks in a Machars woodland
New ways of relating to nature and the environment

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Frances Ross pictured with her ceramic work in Kilsture Forest. Photo by S Jolly Images.
Frances Ross pictured with her ceramic work in Kilsture Forest. Photo by S Jolly Images.

This weekend seven artists will be holding a highly unusual exhibition – in the heart of a Galloway forest – as the culmination of a year-long collaboration.

Kilsture Roaming takes place on 19 and 20 August in Kilsture Forest on the Machars Peninsula south of Newton Stewart.

All the work has been created specifically for this event and includes photography, print, ceramic installation, speculative writing, signage, found objects and audio.

The result is an intriguing set of artworks, all of which respond in new ways to the forest environment and tackle a whole range of themes including memory, belonging, survival, migration and landscape.

The artists taking part are:

  • Savannah Crosby uses photography to consider what is home and what it means to belong somewhere.
  • Hope London decorates a tree with colourful, edited round images. These are from images of her own left breast just before her mastectomy this year. The work looks at illness, grief and decay, and how mortality is part of nature and the cycle of life.
  • Sarah Stewart has created a patchwork quilt sewn together from leaves which will be placed on a plinth. It’s an artwork looking at comfort, homelessness, and the emotional meaning of objects.
  • Anne Waggot Knott has produced a zine containing a map of the exhibition, and three installations that invite viewers to pause and engage with the forest.
  • Frances Ross uses intriguing dome-shaped yellow glazed concrete nodes to create a net structure on the ground, highlighting the connections, spaces and patterns in the forest.
  • Jack Ky Tan’s work is an audio recording of extracts from his essay ‘Disposing Forests’, which is about encountering Kilsture as a more-than-human entity, the 2018 Save Kilsture campaign and the legal history of forestry.
  • Del Whitticase presents his “alternative CV”, which details all the other jobs he does to support his practice, and the projects that were never funded. This piece highlights the realities of surviving as an artist between the rural and urban.


The exhibition, which is supported by Upland CIC art development organization and has Creative Scotland funding, is in partnership with Kilsture Community Forest Trust.

 

Amy Marletta, Upland's Creative Director, said: “The creativity in Galloway is astounding, and much of the art being produced here is influenced by life and work in one of Scotland’s most rural regions.

“Kilsture Roaming shines a light on the impressive creativity of Galloway artists and on our relationship with wild places.

“We are particularly pleased to be bringing artists and a community woodland project together in such a positive way and hope that this exhibition will provide visitors with a way to enjoy contemporary art in a truly surprising setting.”

 

Julia Farrington, Co-Chair of Kilsture Forest Community Group, added: “We are delighted that the group chose Kilsture for their exhibition. Bringing their creativity and imagination to the forest opens up new ways of seeing this beautiful woodland.

“KFCG is a new organisation and we are keen to engage with different people to view the forest through different lenses – whether it’s artistic, scientific, educational. The artists’ work complements the Citizen Science project we are running to record and monitor the diversity of wildlife in Kilsture, by presenting such a wide range of human responses to the forest ecosystem.

“It’s like having both sides of the coin, giving us the opportunity to reflect on our connections with the natural world.”


The artists say the exhibition is driven by their passion and commitment for the region and for progressing contemporary rural creative practice in the area.

It has been set up as part of a wider project called ROAM West which has been looking at the barriers that exist for contemporary artists in the west of Galloway.

There’s no shortage of talent but, sometimes due to lack of funding but often because there isn’t the same infrastructure in rural areas as there is in cities, it can be especially tough for artists to thrive.

 

Frances Ross said: “Galloway is as connected as anywhere with current issues, and there's a real appetite for contemporary and experimental work here. But there’s not an accessible art infrastructure that you might find in a more urban environment. would be great to see some ambitious opportunities for different kinds of art and art making in this region.”

 

  • As parking at Kilsture Forest is very limited visitors will be taken to the exhibition by a shuttle service from Wigtown (outside the County Buildings). This service is running on Saturday 19th August only at 11am, 11.30am, 12 and 12.30pm. The bus is free but booking is essential – www.weareupland.com/events
  • Kilsture Forest is owned by Forest Land Scotland and run in partnership with the Kilsture Forest Community Group. It is the only major area of broadleaf woodland on the Machars, covering 204 hectares. See www.facebook.com/groups/kilstureforest and forestryandland.gov.scot/visit/kilsture-forest.

 

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