Discovery: Reimagining Darwin’s World
180 years ago Charles Darwin returned from a five year voyage around the world and published ‘The Voyage of the Beagle’. For this exhibition 12 artists have made work with ideas related to science, discovery, imaginative thought and the Victorian world.
In 1831 22-year old geology graduate Charles Darwin was invited to be the resident naturalist on an expedition aboard HMS Beagle. The main purpose of the voyage was to carry out detailed hydrographic surveys (of the geology of the seabed to obtain information for maritime navigation and marine construction) around the coasts of the southern part of South America. In 1836, after five years at sea instead of the originally planned two years, the ship returned by way of Tahiti and Australia after having circumnavigated the Earth. Darwin spent most of his time on land studying nature and interacting with the locals and kept a detailed journal of the expedition that became a popular travel book of the time: ‘The Voyage of the Beagle’. The book is a mixture of a travel memoir and a detailed scientific field journal covering biology, geology, and anthropology and you can see some of Darwin’s early thinking on the subject of natural selection that he would later become best-known for.
On the 180th anniversary of the return of the Beagle to the UK, twelve contemporary artists have created an exhibition celebrating the voyage, the man, his journal and his ideas. The exhibition is taking place at the beautiful Espacio Gallery in East London, with two floors of light-filled space, 3rd – 15th May 2016.
Graham Asker, Julie Caves, Alice Cazenave, Esperanza Gomez-Carrera, Nick Hazzard, Peter Lang, Ruth Jones, Natalie McIntyre, Jenny Price, Liz Whiteman Smith, Matt Smith, Sara Wickenden
|Lichen Twig drawing - Julie Caves|
|English Oak - Julie Caves|
|Oak Leaf Cluster - Julie Caves|
For many years I have been visiting a 185-acre patch of woodland and grassland with a number of ponds near my home in East London that most people call Hollow Ponds. For this project I have changed from my casual approach and instead observed like a naturalist in an attempt to understand this interesting area better. Throughout the seasons I have been seen in every part of the area with camera, easel, sketchbook, video camera, collecting boxes, or lichen charts and always with my notebook. I researched old maps and photos and talked to people about the area. I have carried out an intensive observation in a methodical manner of discovery similar to that which Darwin employed on his journey. I have created paintings and drawings that reflect the discoveries I have made during my immersion in the forest.
In a grove of oak trees I carried out a project called 'Drawing a Tree with a Piece of the Tree While the Tree is Drawing'. I created a mechanism for holding a pen upright over a vertical sheet of paper with strings travelling up to the branches. When the wind moves the branches the pen is moved over the paper. While the set-up was in place and the tree was drawing I drew a picture of the tree using ink and a fallen twig from the tree. I am showing one of my drawings and one of the tree's drawing and I have made an artists' book about the project. -Julie Caves
Facebook event page.
Read about the other artists in the exhibition on the Jackson's Art blog.