Claire Morris-Wright: Holding on to the Horizon (image from here)
Claire Morris-Wright: Hedge on the edge (image from here)
There is something compelling about a hedge, at the edge of a field, on a hillside forming the horizon. I suppose I first started noticing and paying attention to field hedges when I came to live in England. Hedges had played a part in my life in Scotland, especially when I went gathering rosehips with my father, but I don't think I considered them aesthetically until my growing familiarity with the English countryside.
Graham Sutherland: Thorn Structure, detail (image from here)
In 1975 we went to Pembrokeshire in Wales for a holiday and saw an exhibition of Graham Sutherland works including much on hedges and thorns. These are bold, powerful images, evocative of the edge of acceptability, of how nature, life can catch you each way you turn.
Graham Sutherland: Thorn Head (image from here)
Graham Sutherland: Thorn Trees (image from here)
Although I have seen several admirable and beautiful pieces of art inspired by hedges since then, I had not encountered anything that stopped me in my tracks hedge-wise until this last weekend. The un-illustrated words Hedge Project were enough in the latest issue of Printmaking Today to take me to Claire Morris-Wright's website, and there I was entranced.
Claire Morris-Wright: Holding Lichen (image from here)
Her work does not have that fierceness, menace, and leaping active aggression that Sutherland's work promises. But there is a complex impenetrable yet enticing presence which repeats without reproducing exactly its barrier qualities: the screen that shows glimpses of what is beyond, but prevents access.
Claire Morris-Wright: Autumn Fruits (image from here)
And yet it is a living benign entity, growing to provide shelter and food. I love the way that Morris-Wright has used those growing elements: lichen, fruit, and even the soil in her prints. The etching Autumn Fruits has used those very fruits - elderberry, hawthorn, rosehip, and blackberry - as a monoprint element.
My attraction to hedges has inspired two images which please me as far as they go. Claire Morris-Wright's work might well eventually spur more ideas.
The one above, Thorn scherzo has been stitched, but not yet photographed, and Hedge laying has not yet got out of the computer.