Theme header Artists In Conversations 5 - Back Lane West

Artists In Conversations 5

Karen Wydler and Zoe Young

Convened by Rachel Hindley partnered with Back Lane West

Saturday 21st November 2015

The Elms (CN4C), 61 Green Lane, Redruth TR15 1LS
5pm – 8.30pm – including refreshments/food.

This is the fifth and last in our Soil Culture Project series of Artists in Conversation. This initial series is developed from CCANW’s (Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World) Soil Culture Project, and aims to both add to the legacy and widen the debate around this project. AIC has invited artists involved in CCANW’s Soil Culture Project’s short residencies based around the SW.

We are very pleased to welcome Karen Wydler and Zoe Young to our 5th Artists in Conversation to talk about their work, the soil culture residencies, Zoe Young’s film Soil Culture – Young Shoots (which documented the residencies) and wider related, social and cultural issues.

Further info on the Soil Culture Project residencies:

Artists in Conversation is supported by Cornwall College.


Karen Wydler 

“Art will always contain a remedy” (McNiff 1997)

Karen Francesca is an environmental artist who has been involved in public, social and therapeutic art projects for two decades.

Her recent CCANW’s Soil Culture residency was at Hannah’s, Seale Hayne, Devon, Touchstone Collaborations, and her current Art Psychotherapy work is in acute care for the NHS and community settings, and with a London hospital creating a garden with patients. Karen’s company is Touchwood Trees Ltd, and she works with collectives such as The Treatment Rooms and Hubbub, making artworks for public spaces including the Victoria and Albert Museum, Orleans House Gallery and Potter’s Fields Park.

Karen recognises the loss of our relationship with the land and aims to alter perception of land/ public space through access and involvement in it. Landscapes and urban spaces are shared cultural phenomena, and she promotes social experiences and interventions that reflect our common values and are a communion with a historic self.

My work seeks to point to the physical reality of our lives; to create both a sense of wonder and urgency about our current situation on earth. I’m an artist, art psychotherapist and educator, underpinned by a strong link to the natural world, aiming to address issues around land and resources and the social implications of environmental degradation. I’m engaged in permaculture principals and working towards self sufficiency.
I’m interested in exploring our relationship to the natural world and the legitimacy of an emotional response to the earth. I’ve moved from direct action (counter activity) to anti- consumption, pro-active processes, such as art and garden creation, forestry and social intervention through art psychotherapy- as a form of micro politics.

Soil Culture Residencies
Karen Wydler – Touchwood Trees

Zoe Young

Zoe documented the 12 Soil Culture Residencies as they occurred around the South West, creating the resulting film Soil Culture – Young Shoots, currently showing at Hauser & Worth Somerset, until 3rd January 2016 and subsequently touring to various other venues. Zoe will show parts of the film, and talk about the perspectives  that making the film and meeting the artists gave her.

Documenting ‘Soil Culture – Young Shoots’ has been a grand adventure: journeying into earth, meandering edges of contemporary art, and traveling around Britain’s south west to the CCANW residencies’ host venues. It’s certainly been an honour to work with so many wonderful artists and curators engaged with the soil, and I’m pleased now to be able to call some of them my friends.
In shooting and editing this video, my priority was to give a sense of the work processes underway, and to capture the ideas and ethos underlying each artist’s approach. Despite the limitations of the two minute clip, I found that if I gave their few words enough space and time to express themselves, each artist’s work had room to breathe and come across to the viewer.

I’m now taking this more spacious approach into my own art (created under the name Frida Go). I’m working within bounds to give shape to a (by definition) rather boundless personal project entitled ‘To the Ends of the Earth’.
Hauser & Wirth: Soil Culture – Young Shoots