Fungi At The Farm - A Mushroom Residency
For the next couple of years I'm really excited to be spending some time at White House Farm to document the mushroom species as they appear around the site. The farm, home to artist and curator Jason Gathorne-Hardy, is well underway in its re-wilding efforts and there are now new species of fungi appearing never before recorded there.
The annual Plomesgate Fair is opening this Sunday at the Farm and some of the first casts from this series will be exhibited there. I thought I'd take the opportunity to share my initial statement on the 'fungi residency' here as appears alongside these initial casts of St George's and Bolete mushrooms:
'These works are only the beginning of an ongoing record of the mushrooms now appearing around the farm. I had originally produced a variety of mushroom casts found near my home. A very damp autumn made for perfect conditions and the small set of works I collected and cast covered a whole variety of mushroom species from one location. Since this first experiment, I’ve been incredibly keen to revisit fungi and to work somewhere where there is a real appreciation of what mushrooms seem to signify.
There appears to be a little bit of a mushroom ‘zeitgeist' at present, I’ve noticed a number of books and documentaries on the subject popping up in popular culture over the last couple of years. There seems to be a general increase in awareness when it comes to the interconnectivity of fungi and other plants species. I’d almost be inclined to suggest that fungi have become a general symbol for the natural world, ecological health and our own place among the web of living things. Their significance and the significance of this web finally becoming common lore.
Perhaps this desire for connection has become all the more acute since so many of us have felt the consequence of its absence in the recent past. That, and a hopeful indication that the natural world seems to have the energy to sweep back in to fill the spaces we pulled back from during the lockdowns; dolphins in canals, wild goats in village centres, overgrown roadsides as unplanned re-wilding initiatives.
The work to re-wild the farm here has been underway for several years now and the results are written in fungal form all about the landscape. The very late crop of St George’s mushrooms (some cast here) are also indicators of what a changing climate in our region might mean. Mushrooms as the quiet communicators of a much larger and louder message.
Since this studio began as a celebration of horticultural dedication, a making explicit of implicit value through the medium, a focus on the humble mushroom and all it now stands for is a perfect extension of this work.'
Image above of some the St George Mushrooms minutes after opening the investment mould - fresh casts! I'll be updating on this project as works appear. Details of all the fungi from White House Farm can be found through the connected gallery, Galloper Sands (full contact details on the stockists page).