Small Wonders

Small wonders

17 September 2022 – 7 January 2023

Small Wonders celebrates plants, animals and habitats which are sometimes overlooked but nevertheless remarkable in their own way and most likely under threat from climate change, sea level rise, pollution, development or intensive farming methods. Based around the work of contemporary artists the exhibition reminds us of the richness of British wildlife while highlighting the precarious situation in which many species are now found.

Kurt Jackson goes in search of the New Forest cicada; Julia Manning explores the mysterious lives of eels and moths; we find Angie Lewin among the plants of the Outer Hebrides; Carry Akroyd combines printed imagery with the words of that great champion of small wonders the poet John Clare; Geoffrey Dashwood’s minimalist bronzes capture the character of smaller native birds; contrasting sculptures from Harriet Mead feature insects made from found scrap and old tools.

For the exhibition artists Nik Pollard and Kittie Jones spent a week working near Lymington, Kittie capturing the flora and birdlife on the Solent shore and Nik hunting for rare plants and insects in the meadows and woodland of the New Forest.

Small Wonders

Local naturalists will also be selecting and writing about their favourite small wonders to be highlighted in the exhibition and nearby conservation groups will be celebrated for the work they do in protecting species and habitats. The exhibition also encourages visitors to go out and experience these wonders for themselves and reminds us of the benefits to mental and physical health of re-engaging with the natural world, which proved for many to be one of the saving graces of the COVID lockdowns.

The artworks will be largely contemporary but also included are historic woodcuts by Allen William Seaby from the St Barbe collection, featuring species that were plentiful when the artist was working a hundred years ago but are now in severe decline.

Contemporary Artists Taking Part:

Carry Akroyd, Kim Atkinson, Geoffrey Dashwood, Kurt Jackson, Kittie Jones, Angie Lewin, Julia Manning, Harriet Mead, Nik Pollard, Esther Tyson

Title image: Machair by Angie Lewin

Other images: Hobby by Carry Ackroyd, Shoreline redshank by Kittie Jones

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