Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

The colours in Dalby Forest have been simply wonderful , but I found hard to capture in a photograph, The larches were especially hard, but their golden colour was breath taking.

So no larches, but trees, light and colour.

And sunlight and shade

blue skies and golden leaves

and silver birches.

As to art

I love this sculpture and have been meaning to take a picture for ages, the land army girls at work in the forest, although I expect they were called land forestry girls.

However the forest now boasts and art installation by a Turner prize winner- Rachel Whiteread, she who filled a Victorian Terrace house with concrete to win the prize has now filled a Nissan Hut with concrete and it is in the forest.

It was not without controversy the original site was in the village of Dalby but  the villagers protested saying there would be too many visitors, so now it is hidden away in the trees.

It is part of her Shy Sculptures series, in which she creates an inverse space. The Nissan Hut was chosen because many were in use in the Forest following the two wars during which they housed prisoners, then various bits of forestry kit. Over time the whiteness will fade, moss and spiders will take over.

At the moment I think it looks very raw, white and out-of-place, not helped by the footpath that has been specially laid to get people to and from the hut. As you can see on Sunday afternoon in warm sunshine on a glorious Autumn day there was just me there.

It’s no good, I am just sitting here and thinking “really is this art?”  I wondered if maybe it is tactile, it felt warm and there was some texture in the concrete.

Maybe I will like it better when the moss and creepy crawlies take up residence. At the moment it looks ripe for graffiti!

So what does everyone think? I am trying hard to be nice and reserve judgement. Here’s link if you would to know more-Nissan Hut Sculpture


Comments on: "Autumn and Art in the Forest" (48)

  1. I had missed this originally and arrived from Sandra’s post. I am interested in comparing the two sets of photographs – Sandra’s appreciation of this as art really shines through in her pictures and makes it a much more appealing piece of work! Perhaps it’s best regarded as a canvas upon which nature will make its own art.
    In practical terms, however, I really don’t like the use of all this concrete. The environmental damage caused by extractive industries is not something that I want my art to be responsible for.

    • I think what shows in my pictures is how cross I felt that my favourite footpath had been blocked off in favour of a manmade path, and that the trees had been felled to make space for the Nissan hut and the surrounding wood thoroughly chewed up by machinery. My pics are as they roll off the camera, Sandra does tweak hers, which does help.
      I am trying to reserve final judgement.

      • I’m so interested that our feelings shine trough in our photography. I too would be upset to discover a favourite place damaged. Fortunately nature always finds a way to soft (and even obliterate) such disturbance by machinery. I wonder what made them select that particular location – how much better it would have been to choose a site that was already disturbed.
        If you want to find consolation and see what nature an do the manmade objects, take a look at some of the pictures of Detroit from a few years back http://www.sweet-juniper.com/2009/07/feral-houses.html

  2. Not my style I’m afraid!

  3. What a fabulous blog post Cathy… I love the woodland at this time of year… no I didn’t like the concrete hut at all when first seeing it but have been so interested to read everyone else’s reactions, especially those from Sandra ‘Wild Daffodil’… xxx

  4. I’m with WildDaffodil–I don’t always look to art for beauty or comfort (as much as I like beautiful and comforting!) but sometimes to be challenged and pushed out of my comfort zone. I think this piece does that–and look at the discussion it’s provoked! Your autumn photos–now, those are art, too!!

    • I am reminded of the Chinese saying “those who can not hear the music think the dancer is mad” 😉
      As a one-off piece I understand a negative response, but taken in the context of her life’s work and that this is the first permanent public sculpture of this, the UK’s most prominent female sculptor. There are layers of positives to be found. I don’t think it is necessary to like ‘art’, but as you say Kerry, great discussions and debates are always an interesting spin-off.

  5. I love your photos, but the Nissen hut is not art to me. Let’s hope it improves with age!

    • It needs to settle in a bit, and I admit I was rather upset by the footpaths that had been laid, I suppose for access needs of wheelchairs.

  6. Sorry but I agree with andreaclairekiwi’s comment. That isn’t art, it’s an ugly monstrosity which I think is very much out of place in an otherwise lovely forest. I’ve never heard of Rachel Whiteread and if that’s an example of her ‘art’ (I use the term loosely) I’ve no wish to know anything about her either. I wonder just how long it took her to think that one up? – probably all of two minutes. A child could do better! 😦 The sculpture of the Land Army girls however is lovely and entirely in keeping with its surroundings – if anything deserves a prize it certainly isn’t the stupid concrete thing!

  7. I like the wooden carving though at first I thought that the first woman’s leg was the second woman’s arm. 😉 Don’t go for the concrete Nissan Hut; especially feel it is out of place in a location like that but then most of the time I like art I can recognise, it has to be pretty special for me to like abstract art.

  8. Hmmm not really sure about it as Art. An interesting conversation piece though! X

  9. I have trouble with her work. I find this piece brutal, harsh and evocative only of a need to make a statement and bugger the ecological consequences. The wooden sculpture, by comparison, is the work of human hands, is joyful, appropriate and celebrates human endeavour.
    The Nissen hut is a bit large for using yoghurt to speed up weathering. I’d be hurling buckets of cow manure slurry at it….

  10. I’m a Rachel Whiteread fan, you might remember my visit to her exhibition in Tate Britain: https://daffodilwild.wordpress.com/2017/11/27/rachel-whiteread-at-tate-britain/

    Her work seems to create an atmosphere, it sometimes evokes uncomfortable memories of difficult subjects – in this case prisoners of war. I find anything to do with commemorating war difficult and uncomfortable, but I understand the wish to keep it current.
    To me, the best art, causes me to see things differently, from a different perspective.
    I remember feeling rather frightened of the Nissen huts that i saw around the place as a child.
    I’m sure it will get covered in graffiti and if it does I think it should be left – graffitti is artistic expression too.

    • So glad for a positive response, it will be interesting to visit together.

      • Eeek! Yes! I’m getting excited!
        I should have followed your links before commenting – I now see the sculpture is there to commemorate the workers who planted the woodland – hey ho – what ever it is there for I’m looking forward to soaking up the atmosphere with you!!! 🙂

  11. Not art. Just not worth the cost or effort. For me art has to have beauty, but then beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The same reason I really don’t go for yarn bombing, because most of it is just gaudy and unappealing to me. And then I think of the time spent doing it when a thing of use could have been knit instead. LOL!

    • Really interesting thoughts. I like yarn bombing because it makes me smile. I am of the belief though that it should come down very quickly, I have seen some very soggy and unappealing yarn bombs that should have come down long ago. I also like to think that whatever is used, can be reused, eg scarfs

  12. Murtagh's Meadow said:

    Like you i am sure about the Nissan hut. Covered in moss and lichen it would certainly blend in a lot better, so given time it may be okay. But the wooden sculpture is lovely, as are the trees in their autumn colours.

    • The Nissan Hut looked very stark in the wood. The local press did a piece in which they feature an old Nissan hut which looked rather nice in amongst the trees.

  13. Beautiful autumnal photos from your part of the globe Cathy, the light is gorgeous in woodlands at this time of the year! As to the hut – art, like everything else, comes in fashions and stages. Sometimes, like 80’s shoulder pads and big hair, we follow it for a time and then look back and wonder what the hell were we thinking! 🙂 The sculpture made from the indigenous forest inhabitants i(wood) s a thing of beauty however, entirely in place and entirely generous in its appreciation of the war time work of women……… I would have liked to see more photos of that piece and much less of the other.

  14. My first thought about the hut was stark and austere. Sharp contrast to the beautiful woodland. To each his own I guess. I’d like to see something planted around it. Just saying.

    • Sadly for me this has been sited in a favourite part of the forest, an artificial path laid where formerly there was grass , and the surrounding woodland has been fairly churned up, which made me sad. I shall keep returning to see how I feel as the wood recovers.

  15. andreaclairekiwi said:

    That ‘art’ is bollocks, pure and simple.

  16. So, where have you scrawled ‘Cathy woz ‘ere’ then? You can tell us!

  17. Hmmm is it solid cement? If so that’s A LOT of cement! Here in the USA we consider old cement hazardous waste. I’d wonder where would it go 30 years from now? (here landfills that only take hazardous waste take it for a hefty $$ per pound)
    The trees/woods are lovely. And the forestry women sculpture is stunning!

    • It is indeed solid concrete. An old Nissan hut was erected, concrete poured in, and when set the old hut was dismantled. I can’t help thinking I would have preferred the original.

  18. the trees do look lovely! Our larches are also golden now, and just glow in sunshine.

    The concrete art – like you I am not in love with it now, but I do wonder, when it is covered with forest bits, if it will be more interesting? I don’t know… I would rather see a fairy house or two.

  19. My eye for art seems so different than the eyes of others. I am with you, and don’t really see the art in the concrete. Maybe when it is weathered? But couldn’t that have been done without concrete? Interesting, for sure. And I suppose, if art is supposed to spur conversation, this one surely qualifies! Thanks for sharing the forest photos and stories. 🙂

    • It did look very stark and very white, and sadly the forest around it was quite badly churned p from the making of it. I have wondered about smearing a bit of yogurt on it to speed up the weathering, but I lack the courage. I am wondering what the visitors will make of it.

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