Natural:History (a fable of progress) is my new exhibition and runs from 10th March to 2 June 2018 at Gallery Oldham. The exhibition comprises a series of works created by myself and Jacqui Symons exploring the era of the Anthropocene*, questioning humankind’s impact on, and changing relationship with, the Natural World from the 19th Century to the present day.
Currently Climate Change caused by Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) presents an extreme threat to life on our planet and this combined with loss of biodiversity, habitat destruction and pollution are issues explored in this work. My work in response to these issues includes a new kinetic sculpture Pointless Device #27 There Is No Away a plastic non-recycling machine, installation piece All The Names, a Cenotaph to the non-human and an Extinction Sensor that prints out extinctions as they occur in real time.
Counter to this negative global situation there are pieces that invite visitors to explore the miraculous detail and beauty of our environment, especially the nearby and everyday, and what we stand to lose. These including In Passing Unnoticed, a Lilliputian moss and lichen garden and Dead Moth Told Me, a study of crypsis, mellanism and the famous biston betularia moth.
Hopefully the show will be interesting,entertaining and thought provoking (providing the current weather conditions*** allow us to install it in good time).
*Anthropocene** – relating to or denoting the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.
**For this exhibition the year 1801 represents the start of the Anthropocene. 1801 was the epicentre of the Industrial Revolution, the start point of modern scientific investigation into Evolution and theorising on Natural Selection. It is also the birth year of Percival Farrington.
Created in collaboration with artist and printmaker Jacqui Symons and reflecting their shared interest in entomology and concern regarding the decline in insect species worldwide. The instinct chair celebrates the diverse beauty of these creatures and encourages the viewer to see these ecologically vital creatures in a new way.
By re-imagining insects as a chair the piece explores the structural beauty of the insect form and their unimaginable variety of shapes, inviting the audience to encounter these creatures in a new way.
The piece plays also against instinctual reactions to creepy crawlies (of disgust or unease perhaps mixed with fascination) and touches on the uncanny through use of scale and the re-purposing of the familiar everyday object of a chair in combination with the unfamiliar yet also everyday life-form the insect.
We hope the audience will look closely at the printed fabric, which shows 100 species in detail and perhaps take a seat amongst them.