Birnam Arts presents a solo exhibition by contemporary artist Rowan Lear. a sudden branching features new photographic, ceramic and moving image works and a limited edition artist publication.

The exhibition departs from the practice of propagating trees by grafting, as taught by the artist’s father. In muted conversation with philosophers, plant biologists and growers, Rowan considers ideas of inheritance and evolution, straightening devices and mingled bodies. The installation gleams with the dazzling green of cambium, the layer of stem cells in woody plants from which roots and shoots grow. Above all, a sudden branching revels in the intelligence, resilience and audacity of vegetal life.

a sudden branching emerges out of a period of residency earlier this year, during which Rowan experimented with darkroom processes and ceramic techniques and spent time in the fields, forests and orchards around Birnam and Dunkeld.

The exhibition features a reading nook, where visitors can pause and read related books and articles. A collection of extracts will be read aloud by the artist, and made available online to listen to at home or on a walk. Associated events include a bud grafting workshop on a Perthshire community farm and a workshop in embodied photography and plant-based photochemistry.

Rowan Lear is an artist and writer currently based in Glasgow, who has exhibited across the UK, Ireland and the USA. In 2018, Rowan initiated Planetary Processing, a gathering of artists speculating on geological, ecological and bodily systems at The Photographer’s Gallery, London. Since 2019, Rowan has been cultivating and caring for a living repository of seeds and stories at Glasgow Seed Library, a project hosted by Centre for Contemporary Arts. With Glasgow Artist Moving Image Studios, Rowan co-organises Modern Nature, a queer reading group and gardening club.

Image Caption

© Rowan Lear

  • Venue

    Birnam Arts

  • Address

    Station Road, Birnam, Dunkeld PH8 0DS, UK

  • Website