The Forest of Possibility

Explore the fragile beauty of paper landscapes

Curated by Natasha Howes

January –August 2015

Discover how the humble piece of paper is transformed into intriguing artworks telling stories from the forest

Our ancient forests are a source of inspiration for artists: fragile paper is transformed into beguiling paper cuts, sculptures and animation to explore our experience of the forest and its inhabitants.

Forests are a place to explore, to think, to encounter wildlife or to escape from life’s challenges. But they can also be a place of fear and peril, full of untamed branches, sinister shadows and silence. Fairytales often cast the forest as enchanted and mysterious, a site for initiation and self discovery. The forest holds many secrets and today is still a place full of potential and possibility.

“Our deep but unconscious desires have created stories about forests and fairy stories that make walking in the spring sunshine in … (a) forest feel so rooted in fairy-tales that we cannot see the trees for the wood.” Sara Maitland, author Gossip from the Forest, 2012

When and where

7 January – 14 February 2015 Abbey Walk Gallery, Grimsby

4 March – 30 April 2015 Woodend, Scarborough

7 May – 30 June 2015 Craven Museum & Gallery, Skipton

4 August- 29 August 2015 The Courthouse, Thirsk

Please check individual venue opening times before visiting.


James Aldridge creates paper cuts based on silhouettes and is inspired by folk art, heavy metal album covers and illustrations in field guides to birds. He cuts away the negative spaces around his imagery of skulls, ravens, smoke, trees and thorns.

Claire Brewster uses vintage maps to create paper cuts of birds and insects. Pinned like entomological specimens, they are prevented from flying to the places printed upon them.

Andrea Mastrovito plays with reality and artifice in his garden paper cut sculptures. Cut from seed and plant catalogues, the flowers and plants seem to grow from the book from which they are cut.

Charlotte McGowan-Griffin is interested in the quality and materiality of paper. Using the traditional technique of watermarking paper, her images of trees and geometric patterns are revealed when light shines through them.

Davy and Kristin McGuire are an award winning partnership who bring paper to life in their magical artworks comprising paper cutting, animation, projection and performance.

Clare Skill creates two and three dimensional images of forests in different atmospheric conditions and times of day. Inspired by her memories and feelings and by fairytales, she creates brooding environments where hope is dwindling.

Justine Smith fashions printed paper money into delicate plants, often presented as botanical specimens in bell jars. Her theme is ‘natural capital’ which emphasises the value and wealth of the natural world.

Curated by Natasha Howes who is a curator of contemporary art with over 17 years’ experience of working in major regional public galleries and on freelance projects. She is committed to developing engaging contemporary art exhibitions which are accessible to all.