Review: Drawing Attention Back to Nature

The Norman Rea Gallery showcases its first exhibition of 2024: Perceiving Nature. SCENE reviews…

(Image: Josh Haining, Norman Rea Gallery)

We all have our own preconceived ideas of nature – picturing greenery, trees, countryside – but Perceiving Nature broadens and enlightens us to new perspectives. 

Throughout the exhibition, each artist demonstrates incredible creativity in the diversity of their visual manifestations of nature. No two artworks are alike.

With ethereal colours and delicate lines, these artworks explore nature through a microscopic lens. 

The artists present these perspectives using a range of different materials, such as wooden textures and wool. Molly Owen’s interactive artwork Sbôr hangs down from the ceiling, blocking part of the corridor. It makes us question how we view nature in our everyday lives: is the overgrown bush obstructing our path or is it us who obstruct its growth?

(Image: Josh Haining, Norman Rea Gallery)

A particularly interesting piece is Georgie Lawrence’s The Protector, a minimalist artwork that stands out against the multitudes of colour in the rest of the Norman Rea Gallery. The artist shares with us an intimate means of finding comfort, even in the intimidating vastness and sublimity of nature.

This exhibition has approached nature-inspired art in a refreshing light, evolving the way we think about the concept. However, the exhibition proves to be captivating, exploring a variety of ways to depict nature in both the past and present. 

For example, Amy D’Agorne’s Portrait of An Artist Peeling a Potato challenges our conventional view of food as a mere object of human consumption. It urges us to recognise its inherent connection to the natural world.

(Image: Josh Haining, Norman Rea Gallery)

The exhibition serves as a reminder that humankind’s connection with the natural environment has always been a central part of cultural discourse. With artistic creativity, this exhibition moves the discussion forward by engaging with contemporary issues like the changing climate.

Still, Perceiving Nature transcends a singular focus on any one environmental concern, offering a nuanced exploration of individual responses to nature.

This exhibition runs from 31 January to 16 February.

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