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Published: 31 March 2015
This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod
Human Nature 2014 was the UK’s first dedicated environmental art show. This year the mixed media exhibition is back – and it’s grown.
Expect to experience the best emerging and cutting-edge environmental art, from photography, painting and sculpture to street art and work created from upcycled materials.
‘Very often we read about the negative things that are happening across the world and are bombarded with horrific headlines’, says Good Shout Studio’s Charlotte Webster, curator of Human Nature. ‘But there’s a lot more resting in between those headlines – and that’s the positive work that people are doing and the hopes that people have for the future.’
Jonesy, Nicola Nemec, Jane Laurie and Lesley Hilling are just some of the extremely talented artists whose work will be exhibited at The Gallery at Munro House, Leeds, 23 April-2 May. ‘Who better, really, to look at the future and how we really connect with the environment – the emotions we feel and what drives us to do things in a better, greener way – than artists?’, Charlotte says. We couldn’t agree more.
Human Nature is supported by Ecology Building Society, the sustainable mortgage provider, Abundance, an ethical investment company and Snow Leopard Vodka, a British vodka company that gives 15% of its profits to snow leopard conservation projects.
Bruce Davis, co-founder of Abundance, said, ‘We need art to do more than just show us a cynical reflection of ourselves and our consumerism. We need art that says something about the world we are wasting and the value that exists in Nature which we should all want to ensure is passed on to the next generations.’
Last year, Jane was appointed the official artist in residence for the Sir Bernard Crick Centre, part of the Politics department at Sheffield University.
‘Growing up in Dorset, it was always easy for me get close to Nature’, Jane says. ‘My parents taught me about birds and I would go out to the bluebell woods and sit listening to birdsong, or watch deer grazing from afar. I would often spend hours like this… I want people to look at the animals in my paintings and see them the way I do – vivid, exciting and endlessly fascinating. Always unknowingly changing through evolution and natural selection, fitting into the world which surrounds them, always moving forward, always fighting for survival, just as they have for millennia. I think we can learn a lot from the creatures we share our planet with.’
Mark Jones (Jonesy)
Secret street artist Jonesy, whose sculptures are often placed high up on street signs or walls, is best known for his miniature works in bronze. He also sculpts, paints, prints and makes musical instruments from sustainable fruit trees and recycled wood. ‘I am interested in musical instruments because music and art are two ways in which an individual can have a voice in society’, Jonesy says. ‘Artists can have a voice in a world of multi-national corporations, government control and advertising.’
Jonesy wants to promote ‘intelligent ecology over bad husbandry’. ‘Almost everything we do is bad for the planet and we must immediately address the worst of what we are doing if we are to survive’, he says. Fracking, fossil fuels and nuclear waste have been key themes in his work.
Fragile seagull eggs, crustacea shells, dominoes, pocket watches, family photos and valves from an old radio are all woven into intricate utopian towers, which can take Lesley up to a year to complete.
Lesley uses only recycled materials and found objects, which helps save money and cut down on ‘all the unnecessary stuff ’ in the world. It also gives her the added pleasure of searching in skips for items that spark her imagination. ‘I build collages out of salvaged wood, floorboards, driftwood and furniture. It is all re-worked into new forms, jigsawed and layered with an obsessive joinery. I create something new from objects that had a previously different life’, Lesley says.
Along with her husband Andy Baird, Nicola owns and runs Planet Solar, a bespoke solar design and installation company in Northern
‘Following my solo London exhibition, ‘Monuments’, in 2011, I have continued to explore the theme of man-made structures within the landscape’, Nicola says. ‘I am interested in how the presence of these remarkable modern engineered constructions contrast with Nature –
the shifting climate and atmosphere of the Earth, sky and water. My first wind turbine series was completed in 2012. The paintings exhibited in Human Nature investigate the aestheticism of renewables within our landscape, and how these new ‘monuments’ contribute to our changing
Following the exhibition in Leeds, Human Nature will head to Bristol’s Centrespace Gallery, 16-30 July, before returning home to London in October. Find out more at humannatureshow.com