Five artists have been selected to develop proposals for the £30,000 Jerwood Open Forest commission.

Rebecca Beinart, Magz Hall, Keith Harrison, David Rickard and David Turley will each receive a £2,000 research and development fee to expand on the concept of their proposals, test feasibility and explore potential sites within England’s Public Forest Estate.

They will also take part in a group exhibition in November 2016 at Jerwood Space, London, plus benefit from workshops and advisory sessions alongside one-to-one mentoring sessions.

The 2016 selection panel included: Katherine Clarke, artist and founding partner of muf architecture/art; Neville Gabie, artist; Shonagh Manson, director, Jerwood Charitable Foundation; Hayley Skipper, national arts development programme manager, Forestry Commission England; and Dr Joy Sleeman writer, curator and lecturer.

Commenting on the quality of the shortlist, Sleeman said: “The range of imaginative approaches to forest environments represented by the five shortlisted artists is indicative of the rich inspiration such places inspire.

“The artists will each be embracing aspirations to bring new experiences into forests – whether by engaging with their human history, their relationship with their urban surroundings or through an intimate engagement with individual trees.”

The artists’ proposals are wide ranging. Rebecca Beinart will explore the relationship between care and loss through live art that brings together a collection of stories about lost trees. Sound and radio artist Magz Hall will develop an interactive trail of radio transmissions through the forest, while Keith Harrison has proposed a performative sculpture bringing together industrial forces within the context of the forest.

David Rickard’s proposal, Returnings, is a vast forest installation built with timber collected from across the UK, exploring the cyclical journey of the forests’ trees. David Turley’s proposal centres on a ‘Men of the Trees Forestry Diary’ from 1947, unearthed at an auction in Australia, which documents the daily life of a man planting trees in Orlestone Forest outside Ashford, Kent.

Jerwood Open Forest is open to UK artists who are within 15 years of beginning their practice. The first edition in 2013 saw two commissions totalling £60,000 awarded to Semiconductor duo Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt, and Chris Watson collaborating with producer Iain Pate.

1. Rebecca Beinart, Imagined Geographies, 2015
2. Magz Hall, Installing Tree Radio

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