Nature has been an enduring subject for artists across time and cultures. From the ancient garden frescoes at Pompeii to Dutch still lifes, 19th century botanical studies and 21st century land art projects, nature has been either a simple fact of life or a source of curiosity, consolation, and spiritual regeneration.
Flora and Fauna: 400 Years of Artists Inspired by Nature, at the Surrey Art Gallery through Dec. 14, explores the natural world through paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, and crafted objects.
Responding to the richness and diversity of plant life and the creatures that occupy natural spaces, the artists in this exhibition express nature’s complexity and fragility in a variety of ways – from the epic and analytical to the detailed and intimate. This diverse exhibition, drawn mainly from the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, features 74 works dating from the 16th to the 21st centuries.
Presenting a wide variety of media, scale, and style, it features the work of many great Canadian and international artists, including Shary Boyle, Jim Breukelman, Aganetha and Richard Dyck, Frederick Evans, Lucian Freud, Lorraine Gilbert, Geoffrey James, and Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
The exhibition, which runs in conjunction with Cascadia: A Juried Exhibition of West Coast Flora and Fauna, launches this Saturday (Sept. 20) with a visiting curator’s tour at 6:30 p.m., followed by an opening reception from 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Ottawa-based Ann Thomas is the Curator of Photography at the National Gallery of Canada, and is the co-curator of the Flora and Fauna exhibition. Thomas will examine how and why the artworks on display were chosen, share interesting stories about the artworks, and illuminate ideas explored in the exhibition.