Nature's Ape: Paul Harraway; Berndnaut Smilde; Mimei Thompson, John Newling; Jeremy Millar. 18 June - 3 September 2016.
Nature’s Ape was a season at Syson Gallery as part of The Grand Tour Season 2, which took its cue from Giambattista della Porta’s ‘Natural Magick’; a 16th Century account on the relationship between art, the artist and nature. This project invoked the role of magician as both artist and nature’s assistant. It concentrated upon artists’ interpretations of the natural world against a background and awareness of contemporary scientific knowledge and technological development and innovation. Many of the works featured focused upon an artist’s interpretation of darkness or light – either aping nature in some way; taking on board philosophical connotations; responding to architectural space or studying phenomena through scientific means.
Nature’s Ape was part of the The Grand Tour Season 2. A formative cultural experience of the18th century traveller made modern day. Working alongside four of the UK’s most distinguished cultural institutions – Nottingham Contemporary, Chatsworth, Derby Museums and The Harley Gallery Welbeck – Syson Gallery were delighted to join forces as partner fringe venue creating a series of cultural journey’s relating to the contemporary artist as magician for today’s Grand Tourist.
Paul Harraway (b. 1971, Hull) lives and works in Lambley, Nottinghamshire. Born and raised in Hull, he studied Graphic Design at Nottingham Trent University and worked as a designer at The University of Nottingham Medical School, followed by several years of secondary school teaching. Harraway uses drawing and digital media to create intricate, small-scale monochrome drawings and paintings. Recent works, such as Tapiola and The Big Field in view of the Cig, as featured here, explore animism and autobiographical memory through the creation of rural and industrial landscapes, focusing on specific sites as pockets of wilderness and intrigue. Nature’s Ape is the artist’s first contemporary art exhibition.
Text ©Jenny Syson, 2016.
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