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Jerwood Open Forest Commissions Announced

Date uploaded: February 12, 2014

Semiconductor (Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt) and Chris Watson collaborating with producer Iain Pate have been awarded two major commissions totalling £60,000 through the inaugural Jerwood Open Forest initiative. The announcement was made at Jerwood Space, London on 11 February 2014 by selector and artist, Tania Kovats.

The selected proposals will be produced and realised within England’s Public Forest Estate, continuing a national conversation about how contemporary visual artists engage with the environment today. Jerwood Open Forest is a new initiative in the Jerwood Visual Arts programme, launched by Jerwood Charitable Foundation and Forestry Commission England, with additional support of public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England’s Grants for the arts programme.

During the research and development period, shortlisted artists Juan delGado; Adam James; Amanda Loomes; Semiconductor (Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt); and Chris Watson collaborating with producer Iain Pate expanded on the concept of their initial proposals, engaging with forest sites across England, from Northumberland to Kent. They produced new bodies of work comprising sculpture, film, audio, and performance for the inaugural Jerwood Open Forest exhibition; a multisensory experience that examines art in the environment and what it has the potential to be in its broadest definition.

The commissions were selected by a panel comprising leading practitioners and project partners: Michaela Crimmin, Co-director, Culture+Conflict; Dan Harvey, artist, Ackroyd & Harvey; Tania Kovats, artist; Shonagh Manson, Director, Jerwood Charitable Foundation; and Hayley Skipper, Curator of Arts Development, Forestry Commission England.

Semiconductor (Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt) will produce their first ever public sculpture based on a year’s worth of data collected from the top of a flux tower at Alice Holt Forest in Surrey. The work considers scientific data as a means of understanding the environment, and explores the relationship between how science represents the physical world and how we experience it. Through a process of re-contextualising the data, it will become abstract in form and meaning, taking on sculptural properties.

Chris Watson and Iain Pate will produce a multi-channel, spatialized, sound installation featuring the remarkable, and seldom witnessed, conversations of ravens returning to roost. Hrafn; Conversations with Odin will take place in Kielder Forest in Northumberland in September 2014. Speakers high in the forest canopy will immerse the audience in sound starting with calls of distant ravens and concluding with several thousand birds arriving overhead. The work anticipates and celebrates the return of these powerful voices to the forest, making a connection back through history and folklore to the present day.





Artist Chris Watson during a visit to Kielder Forest, Northumberland

Artist Chris Watson during a visit to Kielder Forest, Northumberland