Excerpt from the catalogue essay: Artist Jeffrey Blondes began his symbiotic relationship with le Bois de Mametz, the site of an infamous World War I battle, somewhat serendipitously upon the centennial of the conflict, adjourning a history-peppered conversation with a close friend and adjoining another on a personal journey. Incidentally, David Jones, Welsh poet, acclaimed artist, and infantryman wounded in said battle, never intended to become a writer. Yet the words of Jones’ epic poem, In Parenthesis, outlining his harrowing experience wounded on the ground in the Mametz Wood, struck Blondes with inspiration... ...Five years into the project, the voice of Jones continues to fuel Blondes. His time-based HD 24-hour film, le Bois de Mametz, was made in 2016. Over the past year, in 2020, as the novel coronavirus plagued the world, Blondes revisited the film, obsessively sketching the huge tree that had been his subject. In the artist’s own words, upon stumbling upon a massive ash tree (though not an oak, as in the poem) in the wood, he had to pay homage to both the tree and the artist-poet in film: “A bit of it is my own fantasy about him crawling through the leaves and the sunrise in the morning when the battle starts and him getting wounded and him crawling to this tree to protect himself and then he falls over backwards and looks up at the light spattering down through the canopy and it’s all beautiful and he closes his eyes and doesn’t end up dying. He ends up surviving and goes on to paint a tree often for the rest of his life. The same tree over and over again.” recounts Blondes... Katie Franklin 2021

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