Natural:History (a fable of progress) or, ‘oh no, we’ve killed the last unicorn’
So – a belated post about my three-month exhibition at Gallery Oldham, in which Richard Dawson and myself presented a series of works 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 were issues explored in this exhibition.
We each presented a series of artworks that, whilst varied in style and technique, all aimed to highlight these themes, and engage people in thinking about and exploring them further.
I aim to do a post (or at least photos) of each of the pieces I created. However, the works I was most pleased with were:
The Denial Machine (an ode to lying) Or, ‘are 97% of scientists wrong?’ a vending machine that spat out RIDICULOUS quotes from climate change deniers
Splendour awaits in minute proportions (The Dovestone Doomsday Vault) Or, ‘272 seed specimens displayed by colour’ a seedbank of a local beauty spot
The Greatest Hoax Ever Perpetrated (The Drowned World) / (The Death of Grass) / (Earth Abides) a triptych of dioramas with classic science-fiction titles presented as reality from a dystopian future following climate change
We got some great feedback and a rather lovely review from Robbie di Vito at Corridor 8 that says everything we wanted to say about the exhibition far more eloquently than I ever could – it’s here
The Absence of Nature
The printing, upholstering and final result of ‘The Absence of Nature’ chairs. The blue chair, entitled Chair (The Presence of Nature) Or, ‘Life’ is upholstered in a six-colour screenprinted fabric. The white chair, entitled Chair (The Absence of Nature) Or, ‘this should be an empty space on a plinth, though the plinth wouldn’t exist without nature either…’ is upholstered in a single colour screenprinted fabric.
The piece is meant to highlight the beauty, detail and intricacy of nature against the bland, colourless state of the alternative, exploring biodiversity and the loss of nature.
The fabric was developed during my AA2A residency at UCLan in Preston.
Hyde Orchard Creative Sessions – Day Three
Block printing and paper mosaics on the menu today…
We had a school gardening group in the morning and trainees from the Park Cafe in the afternoon. The Cafe provided us with a lovely buffet and afternoon tea and cakes!
Community Waste Fund – Waste Creative
Woodend Artists have been successful in gaining funding from Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority (GMWDA) to deliver Waste Creative, a project aimed at increasing awareness and knowledge about recycling and promoting the value of waste as a resource in our local community. Working with young people and residents from New Charter Housing in Tameside, Woodend Artists will run a programme of creative workshops and art events which will include designing an information pack, making an animated film and creating junk art and sculpture.
Richard Dawson and myself are the lead artists on the project and we were delighted to be successful in gaining funding to run Waste Creative. I think it’s a great way of getting the local community and young people involved in recycling in a way that’s interesting and creative. The project also includes a communal composting scheme and an initiative which will see local residents elected as Recycling Champions.
Waste Creative will culminate in a big launch and art exhibition at New Charter in Ashton-under-Lyne.
In the meantime, here’s some sculpture created from secondhand and waste materials which were produced in workshops run by Richard Dawson. The workshops were part of the GiveGetGo! Volunteering and Wellbeing Campaign I project managed and designed for Manchester City Council last year. I’ll post more on GiveGetGo! as this month a bus stop poster campaign designed by me is about to be run in Manchester city centre.