The exhibition TWIG presents the works of eleven artists exploring how the Romantic dream of a correspondence with Nature might live on. In what way does our relationship with Nature now manifest itself? Do we question our dependence on it and in what ways can the exchange between Nature and Culture be translated through an artwork?
A tree, a branch, a twig, a leaf. At the surface of this leaf is where a transaction between Nature and us happens. Is there a place for us to be acknowledged at the receiving end of this? The pivot-point where wildness and understanding - the untamed and the civilized - meet.
Hegel described the distinction between Culture and Nature as one between ‘work’ and ‘madness’. ‘Work’ because Culture is under human control and ‘madness’ because he saw Nature as lacking direction. Is this argument even still valid? Maybe it says more about contemporary society to look at this vice-versa. That Nature is now nothing but manipulated by the human hand, this forcing Culture to be a natural process dependent on it.
Duchamp’s ‘Three Standard Stoppages’ was an artwork which attempted to get Nature into Culture through randomness, metre-long string rulers dropped to the floor in order to record the shapes in which they fell. If this is now an irrelevant concern to the artist, what would be today’s equivalent engagement?
These are questions approached in the works of the artists in this exhibition. From the confrontational tech-nature sculpture of Karen Tang to the quietness of human touch in Darren Norman’s modified branch. The mania of the tree roots in Alison Mellor’s photograph (image above) to the contemplative quality of Rennard Milner’s ‘Milk’. Nature seems to be communicating here on some unknown level. IS THERE SOMETHING WE SHOULD KNOW?