Picnic Grove

Douglas fir, Silver birch, Hardware
Edition of 1

The immersive sculptural installations by David Brooks explore different perceptions and interactions with nature. As part of the Cass Sculpture Foundation’s Fields Programme, Brooks created Picnic Grove, a sprawling work built out of custom-made outdoor wooden furniture and spread over the entire 18,000m of the Deer Hut Field. The dozens of picnic tables and garden chairs are constructed in an interlocking manner, with trees heedlessly growing through the furniture like opportunistic weeds. As the picnic tables traverse the field and impose themselves on the landscape, the trees perforate the structures like a verdant grove, creating ambiguity as to which is dominant; manmade constructions or nature. This is typical of David Brooks sculptural oeuvre in which he creates experimental platforms for nature and man to play out against one another. While visitors are encouraged to utilise the installation for communal enjoyment, they will also find themselves negotiating the playful interruptions created by the erratic placement of the trees, fostering a similar sense of ambiguity as to who is imposing on whom.


About The Artist

The work of David Brooks considers the relationship between the individual and the built and natural environment. His work focuses on how society implicates the natural world and also interrogates standardised perceptions of nature. His work investigates how cultural concerns cannot be divorced from the natural world, whilst also questioning the terms under which nature is perceived and industrialised. He often creates work depicting nature out of artificial materials in order to discuss the inherent tension existing between the manmade and natural world. Much of his work champions the organic and self-determined world of nature, which is evident in the works final outcome where manmade constraints and intervention in the maintenance or upkeep of the work have been deliberately removed.

Brooks questions what he describes as the ‘disconnect’ between projections or ideas of the environment, and the reality, and aims to counter a perceived lack of empathy, in which the natural world becomes hypothetical and removed. In a society so inundated with text and imagery, Brooks’ work suggests, we are at risk of becoming de-sensitised to our environments. His industrially-informed structures are frequently installed outdoors, in surroundings that highlight the dichotomous relationship between man and nature, such as urban parks or, as in the case of his acclaimed concrete stampede of animals before it was moved to a gallery space, in the midst of an area populated by wild sea birds.

‘Picnic Grove’ is currently on display

Download artwork info (PDF)
Visiting Information

David Brooks

Born: 1975

Other Artworks by David Brooks at CASS

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