Organic Matters: Women to Watch 2015 We are delighted to announce that Polly Morgan has been selected by Ginny Treanor, NMWA’s curator for Organic Matters: Women to Watch 2015 (June 5–September 13, 2015), as the UK artist whose work will be included in the upcoming exhibition with the focus on flora and fauna.
Flora and fauna will illuminate how contemporary artists re-contextualize representations of plants and animals to reflect upon the themes of sexuality, gender politics, and the abject. Nature-based imagery created by sculptors, painters, photographers, and video artists extends the Romantic-era idea that the mysterious and uncontrollable power of nature serves as an apt metaphor for the persistent unruliness of human culture.
The artwork selected in the fourth installment of NMWA’s Women to Watch exhibition series recontextualizes images of plants and animals and redefines the relationships between women, nature and art. Historically, women artists were encouraged by society to take the natural world as their subject. Rather than narrative art, which was thought to require invention and imagination beyond women’s capabilities, subjects such as botanical drawings, still-life paintings and images of animals seemed to require merely the power of observation. Turning this archaic paradigm upside-down, the contemporary artists highlighted in Organic Matters actively investigate the natural world— to fanciful and sometimes frightful effect. Collectively, their work addresses modern society’s complex relationship with the environment, ranging from concern for its future to fear of its power. Through a diverse array of mediums, including photography, drawing, sculpture and video, these artists depict fragile ecosystems, otherworldly landscapes and creatures both real and imagined.
A record number of 15 outreach committees with be participating in Women to Watch 2015. Curators working with our committees include representatives from the Whitney Museum of Art, New York; The High Museum of Art, Atlanta; The MFA, Boston; and the Museo del Novecento, Milan. The full list of artists and committees participating is available here. The full Women to Watch Press Release is here.
For the sake of impartiality, artists considered for the UK submission to Women to Watch 2015 were selected by curator Lisa Le Feuvre, curator and writer on art and Head of Sculpture Studies at the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, England. She was curator of contemporary art at the National Maritime Museum, London (2005–10) and taught on the postgraduate Curatorial Programme at Goldsmiths, University of London (2004–10). She was co-curator, with Tom Morton, of ‘British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet’ (2010–11).
The five shortlisted artists from the UK nominated for Women to Watch 2015 were:
UK Friends of NMWA hosted a panel discussion “WHY NATURE NOW?” between our artists. The panel was moderated by our curator, Lisa Le Feuvre, and introduced by the Director of NMWA, Susan Fisher Sterling on 3 November 2014 at Christie’s King Street. All proceeds support our participation in Women to Watch 2015.
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A few images of the exhibition: