Urbanautica features Come with Me

December 2011

Urbanautica Features Come with Me.



We propose a series of images from the recent exhibition Come with Me – New Landscape Photography by Ellies Davies at the Print House Gallery in Dalston, London (UK). After having introduced her series“Smoke and Mirrors”, we are glad to talk again about her work, this time through the words of Miranda Gavin, Hotshoe Magazine.

Steve Bisson

Come with Me presents image from six series’ of landscape photography made by Ellie Davies in The New Forest between 2008 and 2011.   Davies has intervened in areas of the forest landscape to create images that express her relationship to the forest, and though each body of work stands alone as a distinct series, together they trace the trajectory of Davies’ on-going exploration of the forest as a cultural landscape.

Located on the south coast of England, The New Forest is a landscape that has been shaped by human processes over thousands of years and includes ancient woodlands and timber plantations. As such, the forest represents the confluence of nature and culture, of natural landscape and human activity. Forests are potent symbols in folklore, fairy tale and myth; places of enchantment and magic as well as of danger and mystery. In recent cultural history they have come to be associated with psychological states relating to the unconscious.

Against this cultural backdrop, Davies performs small acts of engagement as she responds to the landscape using a variety of strategies, such as creating pools of light on the forest floor, introducing craft materials such as paint, paper, and wool, and building within the forest space. The final images all capture the culmination of her artistic forays in the forest; a golden tree introduced into a thicket shimmers in the darkness, painted paths snake through the undergrowth, and strands of wool are woven between trees.

Davies’ interventions, however, are more than decoration; they represent a personal and intuitive response to a specific environment, one that is both a World Heritage site and a National Park.  In the process of producing these photographs, Davies transforms the natural world before her as she throws light into darkness and weaves through nature; at once locating and connecting herself physically, if only for a short time, to the space of the forest. Finally, Davies, who often works alone, frames the space photographically and captures the end result of her mark making.

These altered landscapes operate on a number of levels. They are a reflection of Davies’ inner world, a meditation on universal themes relating to the psyche, and call into question the concept of landscape as a social and cultural construct.