‘[Re]Cycling Tree’ – The invisible life-support of mature trees is made visible by Artist Phil Barton

26 May 2017

A bold art installation will be on display in Manchester, designed and created by Phil Barton, of Manchester School of Art.

The innovative exhibition will highlight the loss of mature trees in Manchester and draw attention to the amazing and invisible benefits trees have and how they provide invaluable support to our everyday lives.

The artwork focuses on how mature trees play a crucial role in creating and sustaining life, from providing food for wildlife to supplying us with cleaner air to breathe.

The installation will be in All Saints Park, at Manchester Metropolitan’s campus on Oxford Road near to the city centre. It will run from 31st May – 21st June and there will be further information available on the incredible benefits of Greater Manchester’s mature trees, not just to us, but all creatures.

Artist Phil Barton, comments; “One mature tree can be home to 500 different species - they reduce both stress and blood pressure as well as locking up atmospheric carbon which is driving global warming”. He adds; “It takes less than a day to remove a seventy year old tree. Once it’s gone, it’s gone – it will take a lifetime to replace”.

Phil, who was formerly chief executive of Wigan based charity Keep Britain Tidy, is calling on people to support Manchester City of Trees by visiting their website to donate or volunteer – and support them in their mission of planting 3 million trees – one for every woman, man, and child in the region.

Phil will create coloured spheres to represent atoms of each of the chemicals involved in photosynthesis – oxygen, hydrogen & carbon, a process vital for all living things on the planet as it supports the beginnings of all the food we eat.

In built-up areas such as Manchester City Centre, air pollution is a constant challenge. The ability of mature trees to breakdown Nitrous Oxides from vehicles and local industry is vital in keeping our air cleaner. The more mature the tree, the greater its ability to have an impact on air quality.

However, trees take many decades to fully mature and the amazing work they do is mostly invisible to our eyes. We can’t see the chemical reactions keeping our air clean, or pick up and hold the shade and calm spaces they create in busy cities. So removing them from urban areas can have a much larger impact then many people realise.

The visible representation of photosynthesis and the chemicals involved in Phil Barton’s art instillation will give a bright and dynamic energy to the whole process, and crucially highlight the importance of mature trees for urban and city landscapes.

Phil Barton is currently a student at Manchester Metropolitan University's Manchester School of Art and is exhibiting in All Saints Park as part of his show on completing the Foundation Year in Art and Design. The Degree Show at the Art School will open on Saturday 10th June and run until Wednesday 21st.

Phil, a long time Rusholme resident, had a 35 year career in environmental regeneration, latterly leading Keep Britain Tidy. He has a life-long concern for the environment and this exhibition is in response to his concern at the loss of over 100 trees along the Oxford Road Corridor in the past two years. For more information on the exhibition contact Phil Barton on pbarton1@btopenworld.com