According to the dictionary: the point or place where something begins, arises, or is derived.
A number of people or things that are located, gathered, or classed together.
Daisy Dodd-Noble has reflected deeply on these concepts when developing the paintings exhibited in the show. The questions triggered by these thoughts are complex and in fact don’t have a simple answer, as with most philosophical matters:
What does it mean to be native?
What happens when groups from different origins are mixed and live together?
Can we draw parallels between trees and humans?
As individuals, we tend to search, consciously or not, for a group we can identify with. We wish to belong. This need seems to be intrinsically human, but all living beings relate to others, and we can find a common ground.
German forester Peter Wohlleben describes a forest as a superorganism of unique individuals. Since Darwin and until recently, we have generally thought that trees also adhered to the survival of the fittest and competed for water or sunlight. Today the evidence seems to show otherwise. Within that individuality, trees are connected to each other through underground fungal networks through which they communicate and collaborate, sharing nutrients and even saving the little ones. So, we are all looking for a balance between our own selves and our relationship with others. Sometimes we cooperate, other times we isolate.
When observing nature, most of us are ignorant on the origins of the plants, trees, even animals we meet. We just see a group of trees together, and nothing troubles the landscape. We see the wholeness and embrace it. But what happens when we meet a group of humans from different countries or continents? Do we still see the same harmony or do our expectations, prejudice or beliefs intervene? This, too, is an open question. In her artwork “Trees from different origins with yellow sky”, the artist challenges us to see a slightly artificial landscape where differences are made more obvious.
Something else we now share with all living beings is globalization, and trees are also experiencing the consequences. For many decades now they have been moved from their native place to other countries, and diseases have also travelled. In the UK, the situation is catastrophic, with millions of infected trees expected to die soon. Something similar happened not long ago with the pandemic. On the other hand, some trees are being moved to help them survive. The One Life One Tree project aims to plant 100.000 giant Sequoias in the UK to protect this species which is threatened by drought and wildfires in their native California. More than 200 million people are likely to migrate over the next three decades because of extreme weather events.
So, trees and humans… we move, we adapt, we suffer, we cooperate, we grow, we share, we die.
To make her artworks, Daisy Dodd-Noble usually starts from a tree that she observes and then captures on the canvas. From here, she composes the entire landscape. Her paintings have a dreamlike atmosphere, thanks to a meticulous work on the use of colors and light, while the softness of the forms takes us to a world where innocence prevails. While observing these beautiful sceneries, we can go deeper and reflect on our own relationship to difference, diversity, nature and our peers.
Text written after an exchange between Daisy Dodd-Noble and Florence Rodenstein.
 Grant, Richard. 2018, March. Do Trees Talk to Each Other? Smithsonian Magazine. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/the-whispering-trees-180968084/
 2021, October 9th. Britain’s trees are being felled by diseases. The Economist. https://www.economist.com/britain/2021/10/09/britains-trees-are-being-felled-by-diseases