When they leave the forest, they have changed for the better, but can’t quite explain what happened during the night.” Allison Borzoni

Hardwick Gallery presents Becoming Forest, a group exhibition that includes artwork produced by undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students from the School of Arts at the University of Gloucestershire.

In April 2019 8 students took part in a week-long residency in the Forest of Dean on the Sculpture Trail. For 5 days the group lived and worked together and took part in a series of experiential workshops, field trips, discussion sessions and exploratory ramblings. The group was invited to consider what it means to make art with a forest rather than in a forest or about a forest in order to produce a collection of proposals for new sculptures on the trail. The residency also resulted in a number of experimental artworks, which are also on display.

In the week preceding the exhibition the group are embarking on a new project, working in the gallery to produce a social artwork, an oversized table made from Forest of Dean timber, that will be used throughout the year in Hardwick Gallery by study groups, community events and lunch meetings.

Throughout the exhibition there are a series of free events programmed every Tuesday following the opening event on 8 October. On the morning of Tuesday 15 October Margot Gibbs will lead a walk on the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail in search of Ian Hamilton Finlay’s ‘secret’ work Vincennes, a fingerpost hidden off the trail. Please book a place at Eventbrite and you will receive joining instructions: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/in-search-of-vincennes-tickets-73818951471

On the evening of Tuesday 22 October we will hold a Bad Ideas Study Group session in the gallery, themed around Trees. You are invited to read a selection of writings on trees prior to the session and to join the group to contribute and discuss your wider reading around the subject. Please email hardwickgallery@glos.ac.uk for a selection of writing and a reading list.

Proposals and artworks by Giles Bennett, Jenny Ellis, Margot Gibbs, Richard Kirkby, Eleanor Street, Lori Tebbutt, and Sarah Wood.

Many thanks to the generosity of: workshop leaders James Fisher, Susie Olczak, Helen Frosi, and Neville Gabie; the Forest freeminer; Judith Lack and Stephanie Johns at Forestry England; Cathy Mager, programme director at the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust; Stuart Wilding for Bad Ideas; Hayley and the team at Beechenhurst Café; Aidan Fallon at Natural England; UoG archivist Louise Hughes; UoG technicians Ashley Benson Wilson and Paul Muncaster; and the Janet Trotter Trust.

Hardwick Gallery’s programme in 2019-20 focuses on collaborative and participatory practices. As much a method or approach as a theme, these practices ask us to consider how, where and when collaboration takes place, and whether a practice of working together, a coming together of difference, can provide an antidote to fracturing and isolation in the contemporary moment? And what are the opportunities of collaboration both in the making and viewing of art?