Stories of the Familiar Transformed
In these works, the artists open the mind to the vivid and elusive essence of nature. As we increasingly rely on our fabricated society, we have almost forgotten nature, even though we coexist with it. Nature is more than an ideal place we can visit, coming and going as we please. These images of nature are used as a starting point to craft free interpretations. The artists capture nature – often at its most extreme – encouraging us to reflect on our own inner landscape. The viewers are invited to read beyond the mere aesthetic value of the artists’ works to infer alternative meanings based on their own life experiences and belief systems.
Some artists connect scientific and artistic fields of knowledge. Others use symbolism to alert us to the satire of everyday life in modern civilisation. Such life is hectic and in constant struggle with both nature and itself. Our daily routines are often filled with absurdities which invite the artists’ farcical and hyperbolic interpretation. Still other artists examine the dangerous effects of our exploitative behaviours. They explore the practical and unplanned ways we transform our environment. We humans attempt to tame, understand, and improve the unknowable vastness of the natural world.
Dana Velan’s series of drawings entitled Nebulae involved a meticulous observation of numerous astronomical photographs depicting nebulas. The flexibility and translucence of the Mylar she uses offer the perfect support to create textural effects recalling the beauty of the dust and ionized gases forming these interstellar clouds.
Gosia’s collection of figures wrapped in patterns of boldly coloured flowers is a personal exploration of nostalgia for her childhood’s long hours outdoors, which for her made nature a strong visual symbol and influence.
Nora Sturges depicts homes at the edges: outposts in the Arctic wilderness and overlooked margins of densely populated areas. She examines the ways in which we transform our environment, whether in the familiar urban environment or the vastness of the Arctic.
As Toni Hamel uses graphite, pigment powders on paper or canvas, watercolour and oils, clay, textile fibres, and found objects, the underlying unity of her work is not technical but conceptual in nature. Her work is an illustrated commentary on human frailties, investigating equally virtues and vices, the holy and the profane, the good and the bad. Her works, which she refers to as the The Land of Id, focus on humanity’s relationship with the natural environment. This relationship – like the id in Freudian theory – is often an urge to satisfy our immediate desires without consideration for the consequences. In this topsy-turvy world filled with tension and instability, everything appears possible, yet nothing is what it seems.
Gideon Näf’s Reveries of the Absurd is a series of etchings which use humour to question notions of “high” and “low” art. Mostly conceived by the artist as daydreams, the works use little photographic referencing to maintain the imaginative character of the initial concepts.
Hengst represents the understanding we have of our relation to nature through the subconscious, showing what really happens beneath the surface of our physical interactions. His work highlights how humans and nature are all part of the singularity that is the universe.