This September, locally-based artist Lesley Seeger will introduce an all-new exhibition of work based on her year as Artist-in-Residence at the Yorkshire Arboretum. From 18th September to 14th October. Lesley began her residency in the autumn of 2018, and was immediately drawn to “The juxtaposition between the land and the sky, and how the trees make this connection between them.”
The exhibition, ‘The Secret Life of Trees’, will include pieces of Lesley’s best work produced during her residency. Most pieces have been painted over a long period of time, meaning that each painting contains a mixture of seasons. Some began taking shape in spring and completed in autumn, painted on-site at the arboretum and completed in the studio. “It pays homage to trees in their glory, structure and delicacy and celebrates their dark moody spaces and sparkling light.”
When asked what drew her to a residency at the arboretum, Lesley said: “I wanted to have the opportunity to immerse myself in their atmosphere, to get to know them better, to observe their interrelatedness of form and colour throughout the seasons and in different types of light. This is a living place. They are not just inanimate objects; they are breathing things and they have a presence of their own.”
Lesley began painting professionally 24 years ago, and for ten years painted abstract florals, where she developed her subtle use of colour. In her own words, she developed her now recognisable style “when I moved back to the countryside after living in York, where I began to paint more observed work out in the landscape.” Lesley likes to challenge herself and has recently completed commissions including the painting of a house in Filey, and the view from the front door of a cottage in County Donegal, north-western Ireland. Both paintings, available to view on her website, are good examples “of observation and imagination working together to produce a hybrid, part reality and part make-believe.”
‘The Secret Life of Trees’ will also include specially-designed posters of the arboretum, using photographs taken during Lesley’s residency. Her book ‘Coming Home’ will also be on sale, as well as signed, limited edition prints and cards.
For more information, visit the arboretum website at http://www.yorkshirearboretum.org/events/the-secret-life-of-trees-exhibition