Groundspeed (Red Piazza) # 4, 2001. © Rosemary Laing. Courtesy of the artist, Gitte Weise Gallery and Galerie Conrads.
Bringing together work by contemporary artists from Australia, the Netherlands, Indonesia and the UK, Nature and Nation: Vaster than Empires is on show at Nottingham’s Yard Gallery until September 26.
Examining contested territories, both geographic and symbolic, the selected artists all deal with some aspect of the representation of nature in relation to colonial histories and national identity.
Fiona Hall, an Australian, works with botanical specimens and systems of classification, using them to reveal the social and economic dynamics of exploitation that characterise the history of botanical collecting and exchange.
One of her pieces, When My Boat Comes In, demonstrates this through detailed botanic illustrations painted on banknotes.
Fellow Australian, Rosemary Laing’s groundspeed series features photographs of floral carpets, installed into natural environments, which result in a seamless cohabitation of domestic material and vegetable matter.
Indian born, UK-based Raqib Shaw juxtaposes studies of exotic flowering plants grown in the Himalayas with drawings and illustrations from the Renaissance.
Roy Villevoye, a Dutch artist contributes works comprised of photographs and video footage shot during his travels in Papua New Guinea and India.
While they engage in a critical dialogue with the heritage of anthropological photography and film, they also reflect Villevoye’s background in painting, both drawing on and undermining various traditions.
The exhibition also features a specially commissioned painting by Karl Maughan inspired by the grounds at Wollaton Hall.
Nature and Nation is curated by Eggbert-and-Gould in partnership with Hastings Museum and Art Gallery and supported by Arts Council England, Arts Council England East and South East, Hastings Borough Council, East Sussex County Council, Commissions East and the University of Sussex.