09 October 2020 - 20 February 2021
Venue Leeds Art Gallery
400 years of nature in art, drawn from the Leeds collection.
Our relationship with the natural world hangs in a precarious balance like never before, as awareness of the immense power of climate change builds. For many of us, the COVID-19 pandemic has in recent months transformed our relationship with nature on multiple levels, from the lack of traffic leading to a return of audible bird-song, to a growing appreciation of our outdoor gardens and parks. In particular, the lockdown has reminded us that access to nature is critical to our mental and physical wellbeing, and something that needs protecting.
Natural Encounters explores the many different strategies artists have used to approach, interpret or respond to nature. The exhibition brings together drawings, paintings, sculpture, sound art, photographs and prints by a wide range of artists working across the last four centuries including Jan Brueghel, Halima Cassell, Helen Chadwick, Tacita Dean, Thomas Gainsborough, Andy Goldsworthy, Utagawa Hiroshige, Tania Kovats, Veronica Ryan, J.M.W. Turner, and many more. Drawing the Leeds collection, the exhibition explores the important role that art plays as a tool for reflecting on current ecological issues, our own psyches and our ongoing relationship as a species with the natural world we inhabit.
To accompany Natural Encounters there is a digital public programme of free events for everyone including a new sound-art commission in collaboration with Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, online book clubs, and a series of online talks in collaboration with Leeds Beckett University expanding on and enriching the ideas and issues informing the show.