Maureen Cooper shows a retrospective of work that grew out of The National Forest area of Leicestershire and Derbyshire. A selection of the work, developed and exhibited over a period of 5 years, will be brought together to be given new significance and meaning in these intimate spaces.
In my mind’s eye I see a landscape that at any one time is a continuous scene where I can focus on particular points of interest, or fast forward, or replay, though rarely returning to the exact moment in time. Memories of seasonal changes and knowledge of its history inform my looking. Photographs provide isolated images which provoke memory; a point of dislocation or fractured memory, where each image makes sense in isolation, but resonates with others to make an internal landscape, is where I begin.
I search for ways to represent, creatively, the links between the present, the past, the marks of time and the particular nature of the environment that now exists. This finds diverse forms in print, mixed media, and small scale installation work.
My interest in the Ticknall limeyards area, now a Site of Special Scientific Interest, arose not just from a particular view or point in time but from evidence of change: the plant life, limekilns, tunnels, arches, and old quarries now pools of water reflecting trees and sky. Today, they show the power of nature to regenerate an area that had been drastically altered by quarrying and burning of limestone as part of what was for many years a thriving local industry.
Other work is focused on the emerging landscape of Feanedock Covert, an area of both established and newly planted woodland adjacent to a landfill site that could itself become woodland in the near future. The maintenance of this cycle of growth, the effect of intervention, and the differences between these managed trees and woodland left to grow naturally, particularly interest me. It has been an ongoing source of inspiration. The layers and patterns of growth that emerge in the landscape over time are key factors in terms of line, space and viewpoint.
By exploring the subtle changes occurring in the forest I hope to encourage people to be aware of change and how small details can be of significance and interest. With such knowledge and experience we build our own memories and connections.