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Dalby Forest artworks examine the relationship between ourselves and the environment 

Published: 07 May 2021

A large scale abstract artwork displayed in a forest setting

York St John University academics Sally TaylorMark Adams and Dr Christina Kolaiti along with former School of the Arts colleague Dr Joanna Sperryn-Jones have launched SelfScapes 2021 at Dalby Forest, North Yorkshire.   

SelfScapes refers to the relationship between self and its environment. The artwork is part of research  to investigate both the body and place as sites for interconnected experiences. It is supported by Forestry England and this exhibition has received funding from Arts Council England.  

It has brought together UK and international artists who have created new artworks for the exhibition. The artists selected for the 2021 exhibition work with a range of media including painting, photography, sculpture and creative writing.  

For Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, Sally Taylor, this exhibition marks the end of an 18-month solo residency at Dalby Forest, something she is concluding with a series of large-scale sculptures (pictured). Prior to SelfScapes, Taylor’s work had been shown in predominantly ‘white cube’ spaces. However, these new pieces were made following time spent exploring the forest, drawing and developing small scale work back in the studio before translating it to the outdoors.  

For his part in the exhibition, Senior Lecturer in Photography Mark Adams said his work focuses on the theme of loss: “Taking its title from Tennyson’s poem, ‘In Memoriam’ is a series of photographs that explore mortality and landscape by responding to the ancient burial sites of Dalby Forest. The project features landscapes and collected organic objects such as driftwood and eroded rock connecting two locations - the Adderstone area of Dalby Forest and the Tynemouth coast. Like Tennyson’s poem the work meditates on life’s continuity after death.  

Many of the exhibitors are alumni of York St John University, as involving students was at the heart of SelfScapes from the outset.   

Angela Howard graduated in 2020 with an MA in Fine Art from York St John, her SelfScapes work considers the duality of the environment and landscape. She said: “My work incorporates the idea of ‘From Adderstone to Kirkstone’ and how I see myself in both landscapes, from forest to mountain, from stream to sunset. The work will empathise with the natural world by being placed in it, close to the Nissen Hut, entangled in the trees and of course close to the spirituality of the Adderstone.”    

SelfScapes 2021 is exhibited within the boundaries of the scenic Dalby Forest, owned by Forestry England. Located just outside of the famous seaside resort of Scarborough in North Yorkshire and above the village of Thornton-Le-Dale.  

The work is on display until June, find out more at the SelfScapes website.  

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