A Curious Nature presents the work of four artists who employ craft-based processes and materials that examine the ongoing changes in the relationship between humans and nature, as well as the artificially constructed (i.e technologically generated) from the hand made. Combining fiber with other craft-based materials (ceramics, installation and photography) A Curious Nature features the work of Caitlin McCormack, Linda Cordell, Tasha Lewis, and Emily White.
This exhibition embraces the recent resurgence of animal studies as part of cultural studies and the humanities, giving it fresh relevance to contemporary visual arts. Theorists have recently begun to dismantle the idea of the animal/human dichotomy that has been inherited from the Enlightenment and the philosophical ideas of Descartes and Kant. This “Animal Moment” in the 21st century suggests a steering away from this divide, which disrupts the anthropocentric underpinnings sustained in traditional portrayals of animals. The artists in A Curious Nature all reflect this radical rethinking of the animal world. Set apart from natural surroundings in a context to be viewed as art, their work disbands the traditional ways in which we perceive animals and insects, and furthers the dialogue about the relationship of humans to nature through contemporary craft. Whether real or imaginary, domestic or exotic, each artist references science, anatomy and biology in their work to provide an alternative reference point to encounter the natural world in unique and innovative ways. A Curious Nature also exemplifies a new trend in contemporary craft that emerged in the last decade. Each artist engages in techniques and materials from multiple craft disciplines, combining them with fine arts practices. This transcends the traditional categories of fiber, ceramics, glass, and metal to post-disciplinary practices that also utilize photography and installation art.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.