Ash 1 _ Photograph of Ash tree showing signs of dieback, Exe Valley by Robert Darch

15 April – 2 June 2024

Robert Darch

Uncertain Landscape

Open daily | Free entry

Image credit: Ash 1 _ Ash tree showing signs of dieback, Exe Valley © Robert Darch/Beaford Archive/Devon Wildlife Trust

Robert Darch is an artist-photographer based in the South West. His practice is motivated by the experience of place, which is where the physical geography merges with other perceptions of place informed by contemporary culture. Darch has exhibited widely and his works are part of public and private collections. Martin Parr has acquired 39 of Darch’s works for inclusion in the Martin Parr Foundation archive.

Uncertain Landscape brings together 40 photographs from two Beaford commissions, ‘æsc’ and ‘Omicron’ by Devon-based artist-photographer Robert Darch.

Robert Darch was commissioned by Beaford and the Devon Wildlife Trust in 2020 to make an artistic response to Ash Dieback in Devon as part of the ‘Saving Devon’s Treescapes’ project. His work acts as an archive of place, people and the changing landscape in Devon, whilst also reflecting on our impact on the natural environment.
“The relationship between humans and the natural world feels like it is at a tipping point, with the Climate Crisis, Environmental Pollution and Ash Dieback all manifestations of our destructive presence on the earth,” says Robert.
March 2020 saw the first national lockdown, followed by subsequent lockdowns and restrictions to daily life. It was a time of unprecedented uncertainty, and this seismic change to the normal routine of life affected both people and place. Towns became eerily quiet, and the prolonged period of closure affected many businesses and people’s livelihoods.
Robert was particularly interested in how people coped with this unprecedented change and how they managed their wellbeing during the pandemic. Some found solace in nature, discovering, and exploring new places nearby during the lockdowns, while others found ways to maintain a sense of purpose, joining community groups and supporting those around them.


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