Fieldworks-Animal Habitats in Contemporary Art
1 August – 2 November 2014
Group show, Lewis Glucksman Gallery, University College Cork, Ireland
Curated by Chris Clarke
The ecological environments inhabited by various species of animals are essential to understanding their lives, routines and habits. Their study therefore requires scientists to experience their subjects in the wild or through a careful re-creation of their natural habitats. This exhibition explores the places inhabited by animals, from the undisturbed natural setting to urban locales to artificial environments.
Including works by Irish and international artists, Fieldwork looks at animal habitats through the eyes of artistic and scientific observers. The natural environment provides an insight into the activities of its denizens. Capturing the ways in which animals forage, nest and play, artworks here look at the daily habits of different species and how they exist in the wild. In the same way, the incursion of wild animals into urban locations represents a shift in their patterns of living, as they discover new sources of food, different environments and forms of co-habitation with unfamiliar animals. This juxtaposition of nature and urbanism is approached through works that look at the tentative adaptation of animals to modern life.
The way in which we study and see animals is further explored in artworks that acknowledge the role of the scientist, researcher and artist in our understanding of different species. From laboratory re- creations of natural habitats to zoological displays and dioramas, scientific research depends upon a holistic, contextual treatment of the ways in which different species adapt and react to their surroundings.
Developed in collaboration with researchers from University College Cork’s school of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES), Fieldwork explores the environs of different species, how they adapt, affect and utilise these spaces and how their inhabitation is represented through visual art.