The Last Islands – John Newling
The Last Islands documents a series of ‘paintings and reliefs’ produced for the art centre Woodend Barn, Banchory Scotland in 2015.
The artworks are the result of series works since 2009 where the artist grew Moringa Oleifera (Miracle Trees) in art galleries around the UK including Nottingham Contemporary, Wellcome Collection, and The Newlyn Exchange Gallery. Each installation generated a source of roots, branches, leaves and stems that were then used to create the ‘Island’ works featured in this book.
These lustrous beautiful works, shimmering with gold leaf and worked and reworked paint surfaces allow us a glimpse into the world beneath our feet which sustains life and shapes our identity. The Last Islands works cannot be attributed to a single idea, but have layers of meaning that reflect the layers built up during the process of making. Through the work, the artist explores themes such as maps and territories, ecology and language and politics and society.
Whilst the title of the works may suggest an apocalypse or dystopia, Newling’s work offers hope and expresses the need to live in an interconnected world.
Published on the occasion of The Map Room of the Last Islands, a new work by John Newling at Woodend Barn, Banchory, Aberdeenshire, 2015
With additional contributions from David Crouch, Anne Douglas, Mark Hope and Richard Davey.