The newly-completed upgrade to Albion Place in the city by McGregor Coxall includes an integrated art work by Caroline Rothwell. Curator Claire Taylor worked with the landscape architects and with the City’s team to identify opportunities for public art in this challenging space, and Caroline’s work has met the challenging with a poetic and evocative work deeply connected to the site.
Watling Tree consists of a series of six sequentially rotating trees based on the iconic tree in Edward Dayes and Thomas Watling’s drawings from the late 1700’s. The tree imagery relates directly to the history of the site and reinterprets the actual specimen in the 1700’s in a contemporary configuration in the 21st Century.
The translation of tree to paint to digital image to laser etch reflects a long journey laden with social and political history. Watling’s drawing was of a tree that existed pre-colonisation. In these artworks the tree is conceptually back in situ. There is also a filmic quality to Watling Tree as each image jump cuts to the next – giving the work a further relationship with its site.