“The genealogical tree of mankind was systematically pruning itself, apparently moving backwards in time and a point might ultimately be reached where a second Adam and Eve found themselves alone in a new Eden.” –J.G. Ballard, The Drowned World
My most recent exhibition grew from an ongoing fascination with the ways in which humans interact with the natural world. I am interested in the places where nature’s hostility is apparent to humans- the weeds and tangles in a swamp filled with dangerous and deadly creatures or the craggy rocks overgrown with poisonous jungle flora.
Nature is capable of tremendous hostility only we often convince ourselves of control. As oceans rise, storms rage and wildfires burn we continue to imagine some superior human capacity for preservation or influence. Yet the forests and lands around us have been here all along and those ecosystems that continue to thrive do so in spite of our presence not because of it. I use my work to investigate the tension between these two human fantasies: the natural world as something to be preserved and sustained as a delicate scarcity and the natural world as a voluptuous, sensual Eden filled with reverie and reckless consumption. I want to show a world that is neither. This is a world where nature’s dominance is on display and humans are suddenly made aware of their fragile place. Humans appear surrounded by flora and fauna that is both intoxicatingly beautiful and terribly dangerous. It is a place that is equal parts paradise and hell, where nature reigns supreme.
Research is a vital component of my practice. In developing this work I take on the role of a naturalist in order to study and learn about each of the natural components that inspires me. I find inspiration in Chinese landscape paintings, Persian miniature paintings, classical illustration and religious triptychs from the Northern Renaissance. For me these sources all share an almost absurd crusade to encompass the vastness and detail of any small part of the world in single works of art. In our contemporary world where things are designed and produced en masse to be consumed there is a politic in working by hand with extreme attention to detail. I consider it a privilege and an act of rebellion to make these images slowly, deliberately and by hand.
About Robin Crofut-Brittingham
Originally from Western Massachusetts Robin Crofut-Brittingham received her BA from Bard College in Annandale-On-Hudson, New York with a focus in Poetry and Art History. She completed her MFA at the San Francisco Art Institute. She was a recipient of the Murphy Cadogan award through The San Francisco Foundation and a Martha Boschen Porter Award through the Berkshire Taconic Foundation. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States and Canada.
Robin Crofut-Brittingham’s work draws from mythology, science fiction and current events to examine human relationships with the natural world. She works primarily with watercolor and gouache on paper from her studio in Montreal.
VERNISSAGE: Saturday, April 21, 7 pm – 9 pm
RSVP (via Facebook): Speculative Ecology
Here are some photos from the exhibition. Check out the photos from the opening night here.