Horizontal forest

I have been painting humanlike tree limbs for several years now. In this painting, I have invoked the stories my mother told me when I was a child, driving up the West coast to visit family in Zeehan. She spoke about horizontal forests which, she said, formed dense impenetrable mats over gullies where the lost fell, never to escape. I believed these cautionary tales she had been told as a child. Yet, most of the forests around Zeehan and Queenstown had been long axed to feed the railways or poisoned by sulphuric mine fumes: the only forests around the towns were small remnants. Now I understand that horizontal forests are easily penetrated. They are part of a web that forms a protective mat over the world. Not to be feared and destroyed but appreciated and preserved. I have re-imagined them from below, as I once did as a child, but entwined them to form a woven pattern. I wanted this painting to be beautiful and disorientating as are the depths of real forests.

Anne Brennan


acrylic on canvas