Root is a word that for both humans and plants is linked to ideas of birth, source and attachment. For trees, without rooting there is no life. While this process takes a material fusion with the soil and being physically linked to a territory, our roots play with more ephemeral and circumstantial components. Some attachments are given and others built voluntarily through experience, ritual activities, and time.
Humans’ connection to the earth beneath us is murky and yet it is a feeling that many of us can relate to – a concept that transcends cultural and linguistic divides that is powerful insofar as it might convey assuredness. It is a felt sense that might be enhanced through ritualistic practices such as yoga, chi gong, and breath work and which can get lost in times of stress.
Distance always puts things into perspective. It rebalances priorities and needs. We might not grasp the presence of something huge that stands before us every single day until we cease to have its constant presence. This can be said of the trees that shelter us in our urban and rural environments. When arriving into a new environment, we are particularly perceptive to our surroundings, to how the environment speaks to us.
During her time in New York, the trees Daisy Dodd-Noble was able to connect with in the city stood alone, as do most city trees. Reflecting upon this, her work renders trees individually as if they are characters on a stage, rather than in a mass of forest.
With time, our eyes may grow tired of spotting single trees, and we may crave being surrounded and cocooned by a mass of green. This feeling of being held by nature, may be strengthened in the landscapes and forests we call home. This exhibition is a sonnet to walking and standing in a place where you belong.
The idea of home is a contested one. Far from nationalistic inclinations and symbols restricted to an outlined territory, for Daisy Dodd-Noble the idea of belonging is rather linked to the experience of being part of a landscape. That feeling on the sole of your feet. Inner and outer observation from the place where you stand. The landscape be- comes a state of mind.
The artist spent several months of the pandemic in the English countryside, next to the forest. Seeing the same natural landscape everyday unfolds a different kind of observation and rooting, one that stays closer to what the eye can reach.
Dodd-Noble’s recent projects have been infusing a touch of magic through its buoyant palette. Cloudy pinks, multicoloured mountains and emerald sunsets set the mood for dreamy and somehow psychedelic sceneries.
In this new body of work, the artist is opting for autumn colours with a dominance of green, blue and yellow ochre, disposed solidly on the canvas. Painting when days are shorter, and with the steady contemplation of a familiar landscape, helped her to establish colour parameters beforehand for the first time. The restricted palette within this body of work allowed her to focus more on form and composition.
The bouncy trees and full-bodied hills characteristic of the artist’s language are still present, with an added sense of comfort and confidence.
Keeping the feet on the ground.
Aina Pomar Cloquell