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Tanya Poole: Undergrowth

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From 24 February to 20 March 2021, Everard Read London will present Undergrowth, a solo exhibition of paintings by contemporary artist, Tanya Poole.

Drawing from her observations of a section of the riverine forest close to her home in rural France, Poole presents a collection of 10 large-scale, ink-on-paper works inspired by the natural environment. Her depictions of intricate foliage, flowers, tangled branches, and their interstices evoke associations of rootedness, belonging, trees of life, ecosystems, neurology, genealogy and ecological histories. “They reinforce the notion of an innate, archetypal nexus between body, mind and all of nature’s creatures, suggesting a way of looking that builds up hermetic relationships, instead of breaking them down.”

Inviting the viewer to gaze skywards through their arboreal frameworks, the works are inspired by the artist’s genealogical research and thoughts on DNA – the unique genetic codes that we inherit from our parents and pass on to our children – as well as the miraculous system of communication and transmission amongst trees, known colloquially as the wood wide web. For Poole, these paintings encapsulate “networks of neurons, ancient codes and connections and blood-ties.”

In some of the works in Undergrowth, Poole’s leaves appear luminescent with filtered sunlight or tinged with orange in anticipation of the changing seasons. Other works appear monochromatic, but on closer inspection reveal gradations of charcoal, grey and blue. Poole exploits the inherent qualities of ink and water in a process which is notoriously hard to control. The resulting shape-shifting work hovers between representation and abstraction, Poole’s leaves occasionally morphing into opalescent cells that embody the very essence of all living things.

Tanya Poole has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions at the Everard Read galleries in South Africa and London. This is her first solo exhibition with Everard Read London.


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