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Charcoal Measure; Onya McCausland

Date uploaded: March 23, 2016

From the 15th of March 2016 Onya McCausland's new artwork Charcoal Measure, will be unveiled and reveal hidden coal seams 1000ft below the surface of the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail.

Charcoal Measure is the result of a commission by Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust in partnership with Forestry Commission England to recycle the sculpture Place by Magdalena Jetelova, an iconic feature of the trail since 1986. As part of her commission Onya McCausland oversaw the burning of Place for charcoal in October 2015, in homage to the artist’s original intentions for the sculpture.

Onya McCausland’s new temporary work uses the charcoaled remains of Place, and compresses it into a series of stark black trenches scored into the surface of the trail, enabling visitors to trace the locations of hidden coal excavations 1000ft below. The artist worked closely with the Deputy Gaveller of the Forestry Commission in Coleford to explore surveys of old mine workings and map the new charcoal markings above ground.

"The huge heap of charcoal made by burning Place was so visually and physically related to coal that my first urge was to return the charcoal to the ground - where it 'belonged' - and where its life began in the form of an oak tree.

The 'coal measures' underlying the Forest are a record of a geological cycle of transformation, and their exploitation as fossil fuel a record of our relationship with the Earth, I am interested in how these two material processes - geological and human - intersect, overlap and converge in the Forest."
Onya McCausland

The Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust will also work with Hardwick Gallery at the University of Gloucestershire on Charcoal Works, open 6th – 22nd April 2016. This exhibition led by Onya McCausland, in collaboration with 18 other artists, exhibits work produced with and responding to the charcoaled remains of Place.

Charcoal Measure and Charcoal Works have inspired the symposium Deep Material Encounters. This will be held at Clearwell Caves in the Forest of Dean, one of the country’s oldest iron ore mines, on Friday 15th April 2016 2:30pm. The symposium brings together researchers and artists from across the arts and sciences, to discuss ways that knowledge is developed and perceptions are altered through encounters with particular material in the context of current ecological conditions.

Visit hardwickgallery.org for further details of Charcoal Works and Deep Material Encounters or to book your place at the symposium via Eventbrite click here.  A coach will be leaving for Clearwell Caves from Hardwick Campus Cheltenham at 11.20am and arriving back at 7pm. Follow directions when booking to reserve a place on the coach.

Click here for more information about the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust.

Charcoal Measure by Onya McCausland, 2016   © Gareth Bowden

Charcoal Measure by Onya McCausland, 2016 © Gareth Bowden