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We live in a world of many forms of communication that we have yet to translate. I believe we will not be fully connected to the earth until we are better able to join in these conversations

- John Newling

This exhibition brings together new projects by five artists that engage with gardens and landscapes as sites for practice and enquiry, addressing questions of meaning and ethics, community and collaboration and exploring art and sustainability in the face of climate emergency and declining biodiversity. Across a diverse range of media but with a shared interest in process and materiality, the five artists will all be presenting new work made after visits to Hestercombe and discussions with curators and gardeners.

Engaging with current debates about the generative possibility of plants and our engagement and communication with other species, the exhibition asks questions about the ethics and sustainability of an artistic engagement with the natural world, and about how we might represent our place in it. With a nod to Gertrude Jekyll’s description of her own garden as ‘my study, my workshop, my place of rest’, the exhibition will evolve and grow over the summer as each artist creates new work and/or carries out participatory workshops in response to Hestercombe.

Brendan Barry Daffodils Unique Chromogenic photograph made using a Camera Obscura
Credit: Brendan Barry

Highlights of the show include :

Photographer, educator and camera builder Brendan Barry, transforms the gallery overlooking Hestercombe’s Formal Garden into a giant camera obscura, using the mechanics of analogue photography as a tool for exploration and collaboration.

Feral Practice works with human and nonhuman beings to create art projects and interdisciplinary events that develop ethical and imaginative connections across species boundaries and between different categories of knowledge and understanding. Their work Leave to Remain explores the evocative, precarious nature of home and migration for human and nonhuman beings.

For this exhibition, John Newling returns to Hestercombe to display recent work made from and about the soil in his own garden, which functions as an extension his studio. During the exhibition, he will also take soil samples at Hestercombe, investigating soil as a complex material that carries a language through nature.

Sophy Rickett is a visual artist who works with photography and text, with a long-standing interest in the relationship between landscape and photography as both image and material. Her installation There it is, the soil is a new photography and text-based installation inspired in part by the recent (re)discovery, excavation and restoration of the Elizabethan Water Garden at Hestercombe, which she has observed on visits over a number of years.

Marjolaine Ryley’s practice explores the materiality of photography through experimentation with plants and sustainable practices, to raise awareness about the current extinction risk to plants and the beneficial effects of gardening for humans and the environment. A Tendril of Creeper, a new body of work for this exhibition, combines photographs of and is made with plants, wall and text-based work and her own botanical collections.

During the exhibition Marjolaine will also be sharing her knowledge of growing and eco-printing through a series of talks and workshop

Dates & Tickets

A Rose is a Rose is a Rose is showing at Hestercombe Gallery from 28th May until 23rd October 2022.

Entry is by gardens admission only.

Hestercombe Gallery is open daily from 10am - 6pm.


Read the full press release here.


The exhibition has been made possible support from Arts Council England and Somerset West and Taunton Council.

Arts Council England and SWTC lockup

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Event Location

Hestercombe Gallery
Hestercombe Gardens
Cheddon Fitzpaine
10 05 21 John Newling New Works 18

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