Forest + Found

Forest + Found is a Somerset-based partnership between artists Max Bainbridge (b. 1991, London) and Abigail Booth (b. 1991, London). Working together since 2014, their studio gives them a space for material experimentation, as well as a platform to explore their individual art practices. Working in both visual arts and contemporary craft, they exhibit their work throughout the UK and internationally. Selected solo exhibitions include: Shallow Lands, Informality Gallery (2021), Biophilia, Make Hauser & Wirth, Somerset (2020), Walking the Line, Oriel Myrddin, Camarthen (2019) and Ruthin Craft Centre, Ruthin (2018); Outland, Egg, London (2018). Selected group exhibitions include: Common Thread, New Art Centre, Roche Court, (2020), Jerwood Makers Open, Jerwood Space, London & Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester (2019/21), Levelling Traditions, Make Hauser & Wirth, Somerset (2018), Collect Open, Saatchi Gallery, London (2018). In 2017 they were artists in residence at Pitt River’s Museum, Oxford (2017). forest-and-found.com
Working across the visual arts and contemporary craft, they draw upon a background in painting and sculpture whilst looking towards a newly developed language of craft, to produce installations that form dialogues between landscape, material and process. Working with raw materials sourced directly from evolving rural and urban landscapes, they explore identity and place through expanded material histories and hand-work. Raw wood, textile and natural pigments are elements that ground their individual practices in a material investigation of the object and textile surface as a critical space for their interaction with the natural. Bainbridge’s exploration of the living tree reflects a need to create a grounded presence through the physicality of the sculpted object in space, while Booth’s patchworked and painted canvases delve into the internal narratives of imagination, dreams and memory, as they originate in nature. Their collective use of natural and found material is central to the economy of their work as they turn to the concept of landscape as a critical site that can occupy the realm between thought and process. A place where cultural narratives and identity can be explored through the physical act of making and their psychological exploration of the changing natural world.

ABIGAIL BOOTH

Born in London in 1991, Abigail Booth studied Fine Art at Byam Shaw School of Art, the San Francisco Art Institute and Chelsea College of Art, where she graduated in 2013. Working across a material language of painting, textiles and natural colour, her works delve into the internal narratives of our imagination, dreams and memory, as they originate in our interactions with nature. Reflecting on the intrinsic relationship of her materials to the human body and psychological condition she looks to her painted and patchworked canvases as a site where tactile images can manifest and play with our shifting understanding of place and identity. By using pigments cultivated and unearthed from the plants, and landscapes she encounters, she introduces site as both a physical and imagined space directly into the surface of her works. In the very nature of their pieced and layered construction, she questions the complexity of the wild and constructed identities of our landscapes as they are continually being remade and transformed. Exploring the inner- psyche and our subliminal need to connect with the natural, Booth purposefully draws us into these dreamt and tactile places, asking us to confront our past and future relationships to the natural world.

MAX BAINBRIDGE

Born in London in 1991, Max Bainbridge studied Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art, where he graduated in 2013 as a photographer and sculptor. Bainbridge’s sculptural works carved from wood, reflect a need to create a tangible and grounded presence through the physicality of the sculpted object in space. Working with trees in their entirety Bainbridge seeks out wood that has fallen where it once grew, forming direct and intimate connections to land and place through his recognition of the tree as a being that can occupy both our inner psyche and the physical character of its former site. In doing so, his search for the true essence of
the tree is ever present within the form of his large-scale vessels and free-standing sculptures that echo their past life across surface and form. For each work he takes the natural shape and character of the tree itself and responds to it directly, allowing the inherent agency of the wood to push back and inform sculptural decision-making as he works. Embodying this transformation from the monumental presence of the tree into objects on an intimate human scale, his works become quiet reflections on our relationship with the natural world and the importance of evaluating our place within it.