I came across John Newling’s work yesterday(16/10/14) and it struck such accord with me. He has an international reputation and is currently Professor of Installation Sculpture at The Nottingham Trent University. I was following up a link about The Miracle Tree. Without going into too much detail now, much of his work seems to embrace the natural world, the growth of plant material, the recording and collection of that material to be used in his work. In a video about his ‘Miracle Tree’ project he compares the process of growing to drawing, ‘It is like drawing, if you draw a line too hard, next time you adjust it- it’s really that simple, that’s where the art connects in some ways’. ‘I learn, and I learn a lot about myself as well’.
I found it really quite interesting to hear him speak in the light of where my work with willow has taken me. I have an awareness of having set out on a pathway with 2 dimensional works in mind, but finding that it has also embraced 3 dimensional works, including plant material that I am growing. I find the multiple aspects of work I have done with willow enriching, but at the same time have a slightly unsettled feeling about where I sit. It’s something I have talked with my tutor about and we spoke about the themes that link pieces I have made that give them coherence. So, it was of great interest to listen to him speaking about the context related to his work.
‘Newling constantly reviews ‘The tacit agreements of Place’ and this has coalesced into a view of the pathology of institutions such as banks and churches. His current researches have been into the nature, manifestations and relationships of Currency and Belief. This process of review is the initial impetus for a work for a specific place. Whilst always underpinned by rigorous conceptual thinking, Newling’s works are always conscious of material, fabrication and architectural space. His sculptural installations are possessed of a quiet beauty that resonate with layers of meaning that are inherent within the form.’
I will probably spend some more time looking at his work.