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Phantasmagorical Interventions in the Forests of England


The artist Ellie Davis invites us to view projections of her magical subconscious represented in these photographs.

The forest, according to Ellie Davis, is the ideal canvas on which to project the figures of our subconscious. She has been wandering the forests of England for the last seven years and leaving small and temporary interventions that encourage the spectator to reevaluate their relationship with the landscape to the extent that a forest, for example, looks different depending on the psychological state that we find ourselves in as viewers.

Her series of photographs, which are the lens through which we view the forest, are a beautiful example of what happens to landscape when it is interrupted by an outside element. In a clearing of a mossy forest will-o-the-wisps appear, as if suspended in the air, while in another place clouds of ghosts weave between the tree trunks, or stars the same color as the leaves look like particles of dust falling, illuminated by the sun. Her landscapes are not only places of beauty and mysticism, but are also places of darkness. The passing of a ghost leaves a white trace on the ferns, or a small tree, dry and solitary, stands twisted among the foliage of conifers.

Forests are potent symbols in folklore, fairy tale and myth, places of enchantment and magic as well as of danger and mystery.  In more recent history they have come to be associated with psychological states relating to the unconscious. Against this backdrop my work explores the ways in which identity is formed by the landscapes we live and grow up in.

Her interventions are an invitation to think about how humans surrender their fears or states of consciousness to the landscapes that have accompanied them in their lives. Everything is a projection, and Ellis treats us to hers ––a beautiful but somehow disturbing mix of realism and phantasmagoria. What is a forest? she asks. Is it the trees or the space that exists between them?

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