October 29, 2019

What is the reciprocal nature of breathing that occurs between human and tree?

Isabel McLeish

Pen on japanese paper24 hours 46 minutes of breathing, 2019Roll 1m x 10m

Having grown up in the rural North-West Highlands of Scotland, I am inspired by wild places and the natural world. Globally, there is a need to find natural climate solutions and restore forests in order to prevent further climate and ecological breakdown.

My current practice considers the relationship between the human body and trees, specifically how they both breathe. Through the creation of physical and tangible artworks and by utilising natural forms, I hope to encourage the viewer to reflect on their own bodily connection to the land. My work suggests an immediacy and directness through the methods of making and the choice of Japanese paper as a material aims to suggest the fragility and delicacy yet also resilience and strength that is present in the natural world.

Tree stumps from the grounds surrounding Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen have been used as a basis for seven durational breathing drawings. The initial outlined shape is the cross-section of the tree stump and every line after that are my inhalations and exhalations documented on the paper. These breathing lines resemble tree rings and reflect the reciprocal relationship of gas exchange that occurs between human and tree.