Breathing in trees: Nicola Moss

Breathing in trees is a delicate observation of the intertwined relationship between the human experience, the built environment and urban green spaces.

In 2017, Moss undertook a residency at Youkobo Art Space in Suginami City, one of the 23 special wards (municipality areas) that makes up Tokyo. In contrast to the manicured public green spaces, Moss was inspired by the pockets of green that appeared in nooks and crannies along boundaries of urban areas. This is where private and public spaces meet and where residents would strive to create their own unique green spaces. Visitors to Moss’s studio would complete a questionnaire, sharing the values beloved plants contributed to their lives.

Returning to the Gold Coast, Moss has continued her green spaces project, seeking out the stories of treasured gardens locally. The contrast between Suginami City and the Gold Coast – having the same population but vastly different geographical sizes – presented the opportunity to explore the influence of green spaces in generating social cohesion and liveability of built environments.

The result of her ongoing investigation is a delight. Moss has created compositions of organic forms, cutting and layering paper and working with a variety of media – charcoal, water colour, oil crayon, ink and ochre. She has observed that paper has the ‘ability to record nuances of experience and place’, and in Breathing in trees Moss explores that innate human desire to connect with nature.

Nicola Moss | ‘Tokyo wild – Tree in Hand’ 2018 (detail) | Assorted papers, synthetic polymer paint, collagraph and relief prints, charcoal frottage, oil crayon, ink, ochre, watercolour and matt varnish on stretched linen. 150 x 200cm | Photographed by Carl Warner | Courtesy of the artist and Onespace Gallery.

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