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Burned maps evoke ‘sense of loss’ for Dales ash trees

Bainbridge, 9 September 2019

Artist Mark Butler has used gunpowder to burn holes in a map of Barden Bridge over the Wharfe (see image).

Each hole represents the space that will be left in the landscape once the full effects of ash dieback disease are felt in the Yorkshire Dales.  The gold leaf, by contrast, stands for the glimmer of hope that 5-10% of ash trees will be able to resist the disease and survive.

‘Barden Bridge’ is one of four Mark Butler rust print maps which are being exhibited at the National Park Authority’s Yoredale offices in Bainbridge alongside paintings of ash trees by Grassington artist Rob Keep.

“Ash: A Celebration and a Lament” will run until the end of October and can be seen during office hours, Monday to Friday. Admission is free.

Exhibition curator at the National Park Authority, Lesley Knevitt, said:  “The impact of ash dieback disease on the Yorkshire Dales National Park is already highly visible.  Both artists hope the exhibition will raise awareness of what’s happening.  

“Rob Keep’s paintings are perfectly lovely. His studies reveal the amazing variety and beauty of ash trees.  Mark Butler’s rust print maps are striking not just for the original technique, but for the sense of loss they evoke.”

Ancient semi-natural woodland – the most important type of woodland for biodiversity – covers about 1% of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  About 80% of this woodland is made up of ash, making it the iconic tree of the Dales.

For more information on ash dieback in the Dales, see this blog.

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