Queen Green - a new exhibition inspired by Dalby Forest by artist Susie Green set to open at Scarborough's Woodend Gallery

Artist Susie Green is set to reveal new work inspired by her residency at Dalby Forest at a Scarborough gallery.

By Sue Wilkinson
Sunday, 14th November 2021, 1:03 pm
Artist Susie Green's exhibition inspired by Dalby Forest opens at Woodend Gallery in Scarborough later this month
Artist Susie Green's exhibition inspired by Dalby Forest opens at Woodend Gallery in Scarborough later this month

Queen Green will be on show at Woodend Gallery in The Crescent, from Saturday November 20 to Sunday February 27.

Queen Green expands on Green’s interest in power play, theatricality and moments of flux. The exhibition celebrates erotic encounters with nature while contrasting moments of confidence and fragility, growth and decay, lightness and dark.

The exhibition explores the concept of the word ‘Viriditas’, used by German Benedictine Abbess, writer, composer and mystic Hildegard von Bingen in the Middle Ages. ‘Viriditas’ means greenness, freshness, vitality, or fruitfulness and was used by Hildegard to describe divine nature in relation to the human spirit and the natural world. Hildegard’s illustrated religious visions, choral music and her rare recorded words serve as an inspiration to the artist.

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Nymph Guardian - one of the paintings - in Susie Green's new show at Woodend Gallery in Scarborough

Imagery in the works is inspired by the locations visited by the artist during her residency. Natural leaf, seed, tree and cloud forms contrast with unnatural objects seen around Dalby Forest such as solar panels, wind turbines and the dots of colour on route maps. Colours reflect the changing autumnal scenes unfolding in the forest, contrasting with the bright colours of mountain bikes and cycle clothing.

Susie said: “Psychologically, the space of the forest is, for me, one of expectation, in terms of what is seen, not seen or might be around the corner.

"During my time at Dalby, moments of confidence, relaxation and personal growth contrasted with those of vulnerability, fear and uncertainty. During the day, walking underneath trees arching above me with dappled leaves, I was embraced. At night, with no phone reception, alone in an unknown space, leaves rattling on to the glass of my window, adrenaline flowed inside me.”

Green’s research at the Scarborough Museums Trust archive during her residency gave her access to the nationally important William J Clarke Charm Collection.

Clark, who was a former keeper oftThe Rotunda Museum in Scarborough was an avid collector of charms and folklore from around the world.

His unparalleled collection of objects and its link between the natural world and spirituality influenced Susie's work in this exhibition.

Archival imagery of Woodend, former home of the Sitwell family, with trellis mounted on the walls informs installation decisions, allowing the artist to encourage a sensory, exploratory experience for the audience within the space.

Green’s residency was guided by Assuming the Ecosexual Position a book by perfomance artists and sex educators Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens.

Queen Green is presented by Crescent Arts and Scarborough Museums Trust Partnership, a new Arts Council England funded initiative that aims to develop Scarborough as a centre for excellence for the visual arts, and Forestry England.

Adrian Friedli, director at Crescent Arts said: “In a time of unprecedented challenge and uncertainty for our health and well being, Susie's original and arresting exhibition, responding to her residency at Dalby Forest, encourages us to look afresh at the world around us. The work invites us to think imaginatively about our relationship with nature and its significance for us, as urgent questions of environmental sustainability are all around us.”

Andrew Clay, chief executive at Scarborough Museums Trust said: “We are delighted to be hosting this installation at Woodend which is nestled in a glorious woodland glade between the Valley Road and the Crescent.

"The Sitwell family loved their gardens and in 1870 they erected a large hot house which provides a space for the Art Gallery today. The relationship between plants, trees, buildings and people is intriguing here and I very much look forward to seeing Susie’s work evolve during her stay in Scarborough.”

Petra Young, funding and development manager at Forestry England said: “Susie’s residency in Dalby Forest has been inspiring. Not only has it been revealing for Susie herself but her questions and comments have been inspiring for staff and volunteers at Dalby. What we take for granted has been questioned and explored in an imaginative and creative way.

"The work she created as a result beautifully shows her journey of discovery of the natural environment in all its glory.”