It’s a little while since I went to this exhibition now, but I wanted to write something about it as I looked a lot at John Newling‘s work when I was completing my degree – I was interested in his use of natural materials and how he uses them in his conceptually inspired works. In this exhibition he has taken inspiration from the gardens of Nymans, the National Trust property in Sussex, where the work is set. He considers his own garden as a laboratory for working through ideas relating to the natural world, both in a material as well as spiritual way. The exhibition is an interactive and thoughtful installation that explores language and the garden, and created a space to perhaps think about our relationship with nature in a different way.
‘My languages try to understand and express my sense of place. Over history we have named our landscape to share a sense of place with others. Walking in the garden at Nymans suggested the idea of a language that is specific to its place of origin.’ John Newling
Part of the enjoyment of Johns work comes through mulling over what you have experienced over time. I particularly enjoyed the books he has made using pressings of organic specimens he collected from the gardens that came to inform the ‘Nymans Language’ that he created. The book pays homage to the Messel family, previous occupants of the house, and their extensive collection of botanical specimens and references the books that were lost in a fire in 1947.