Life after Life For Fallen Farm Trees

 
 
 

Stuart Farmery, a friend and local sculptor, works mainly with wood. Big pieces of wood to be specific. As we have a selection of old trees available and on the ground at the farm we offered some to Stuart to continue his development of large-scale studies. He showed up one morning in November with his chainsaw and set forth carving the twisting, squared lengths from the fallen Cherry trees. “It’s an added bonus” [ to know where the wood comes from ] Stuart says. “I do like having communion through the pieces of wood: someone has given it to me or they’ve helped me move it, they joined in the knowing of the lumber, something of its history and what a bitch it was carrying it”.

The contorted, sawn tree parts were carted away the short distance atop Stuart’s trusty Subaru. Four months later, with the wood dried and ready, we spent some time in his Ghent studio. A Frank Zappa track was playing as, deep in thought, Stuart navigated his way here and there around the various obstacles to gather different tools and materials. “ I take the wood, join it, and it starts to become a piece. It’s not a very spontaneous process, there’s an insane amount of planning. The newer series is forced rather than flowing. Awkward pieces can go on for years” he laments as he beavers away with saws and cardboard templates in the late afternoon sun. “ I enjoy sculpture’s lack of pretence and the huge physical involvement that I have with each piece. I enjoy the struggle between the mathematical awareness and a chainsaw that goes into producing a piece. I often have my best ideas whenever I apply my mind to it as a task and this is often through drawing”. His sketches and drawings adorn the studio walls. These days Stuart often uses an iPad to shape his vision.

 

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In terms of influences on his work Stuart cites many disparate sources including John Panting- his old Head of Sculpture at the Central School of Art in London, Cy Twombly, Eva Hesse as well as phenomena such as aging, the vitality and the beautiful brutality of nature, the elements of time and an endless cycle of wars. “There are human elements in the [ current ] pieces”, adds Stuart, “foolhardiness being one”

It’s inspiring to us to think of these trees living on after their life at Little Ghent Farm. We’ll soon be planting more new trees as part of this year’s landscaping development and, of course, to keep the possibility of future sculptures alive. In the meantime, that evening following our time in the studio, Stuart sent a message to say that he had worked many more hours on his current piece, nurturing each idea into being. “They start to feel like individuals” Stuart concludes. “I work with them and for them. I want them to have life and colour. It is a fantastic treat and honour to work with this growth of nature”.

For more information Stuart can be contacted at stuartfarmery2@gmail.com

 

 

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