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Willa Downing – Assembly of Departed Trees


Z·inc Artist Collective’s latest temporary outdoor exhibition “Panoply” takes place at Darts Hill Garden Park, May 6 – July 31, 2022.

Z·inc and invited artists create unique installations that inspire the public to make new discoveries about the connections between art, nature and themselves with every visit to this spectacular garden.

Elizabeth Carefoot — Joy Flags

Darts Garden is, for me, a small part of Eden. These free-floating flags with their primitive shapes and exuberant colours speak of an idealized joyful innocence.

(stitched rip-stop nylon)

Willa Downing — Assembly of Departed Trees

This work is a contemplation on presence of the absent.

A few years ago, I made some en-plein-air watercolour studies of a small stand of dead trees in this area of the garden. The weathered lightness of their trunks, still identified with labels inserted in the ground, declared their presence in the green understory. They captivated my attention. Although those trunks have now been removed, they continue to claim this part of the garden in my imagination every time I walk by. And so, I create a panoply of the departed.

My father, who adored trees, passed away while I was working on this project. I dedicate this work to his memory.

(glazed stoneware)

Lesley Garratt — Fictional World

The human footprint on earth is so overwhelming with its dire consequences that here in this tiny diorama, I turn to the intimate for some kind of solace. It’s been a kind of play acting to create a hybrid birchbark character in this camouflaged scene placed within a live jacquemontii birch tree. It blends with the landscape suggesting integration instead of domination. We don’t often have the chance to peer into another world from the edge of the frenetic path.

(birchbark, moss, sticks, wood)

Cora Li-Leger — Respect for the Elders 

It is possible that the primordial magnolia is the earth’s earliest flowering plant. Fossil evidence suggests origins which go back to the Cretaceous – the age of dinosaurs. Now millions of years later I laud the very ancient roots of this young tree, as well as the great collection of magnolias found throughout the garden.

(magnolia carpels and thread)

Claire Moore — Drifters

I am interested in parks and gardens…cultivated spaces, as the site of early encounters with the natural world.
How do those experiences and stories, real, imagined, fabled, or inherited, shape where and how we situate ourselves in the great web of living matter?
The Drifters occupy an in between inter species space: part enchanted, part cautionary and part knowing. Their origins are to be found in childhood.

(found materials, mostly wood)

I have described these as part enchanted, part cautionary and part knowing. They were probably formed in my childhood imagination but I like to think they have a place in the future – where more than human life forms are viable keepers of knowledge and leadership.

Claire Moore –  Drifters

Z·inc gratefully acknowledges the support of the City of Surrey’s Cultural Grants Program and the Darts Hill Garden Conservancy Trust Society.