New piece “Charcoal Measure” by Onya McCausland

“Charcoal Measure” uses charcoal made from the decommission of “Place” compressed into a series of black trenches scored into the ground. The work enables visitors to the Sculpture Trail to trace the locations of hidden coal excavations that exist 1000ft under foot. Artist Onya McCausland worked closely with the Deputy Gaveller of the Forestry Commission in Coleford to explore surveys of old mine workings and map the charcoal markings on the surface of the Trail.

Onya said of the process: “The huge heap of charcoal made by burning “Place” was so visually and physically related to coal that my first urge was to return the charcoal to the ground — where it ‘belonged’ — and where its life began in the form of an oak tree.

The ‘coal measures’ underlying the Forest are a record of a geological cycle of transformation, and their exploitation as fossil fuel a record of our relationship with the Earth, I am interested in how these two material processes — geological and human — intersect, overlap and converge in the Forest.”

“Charcoal Measure” can be seen ahead of an exhibition “Charcoal Works” at the Hardwick Gallery in Cheltenham that opens on 6th April 2016.

Onya McCausland was born in Zennor, Cornwall and now lives in London. Her work looks at the relationship between human activity and landscape by following the origins and transformations of materials. Her work has been shown in St. Mary’s Church, Kettle’s Yard, Newlyn Art Gallery and Camden Arts Centre. She is currently undertaking PhD research at the Slade School of Fine Art UCL where she also teaches drawing. She is the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards supporting her research from the AHRC, British Council, Arts Council and British Academy among others.

Below are some of the wonderful photos taken by David Broadbent and aerial shots from Gareth Bowden: