Gary Colclough


A regular train journey I make, takes me out of London and through the common and woodland of Surrey. There’s a curious bit of the journey where the train lines intersect and create a small island, a discreet wooded outcrop bordered on all sides by train tracks. I wonder if anyone ever sets foot on this small piece of land. This unremarkable tract of landscape is in some ways wilder than the dense woods and windswept commons that sweep past the window.

I realize l will never walk through this piece of land and in all likelihood I will never walk through any of the trees I view on this journey. I’ve made this journey hundreds of times now and I’m yet to get off before my destination.

Like so many city dwellers I all too often experience the landscape at a remove – through the window, the screen, or the page.

Before I make drawings my process begins by searching through existing photographs of the natural world; images of woods I have never walked in and trees I have never seen or touched. I’m looking for a certain ordinariness, a degree of blankness onto which I can project. I willfully misinterpret these images, imagining their stillness as loaded with the potential of imminent action or discovery.

Although, so often the trees obscure nothing but more trees, the seemingly dense bracken only extends as far as the railway siding or the A-road, sometimes the thing you are looking for just really isn’t there.