In Our Nature

Art & Culture
Apr 23
Aug 31, 2024

In Our Nature features the work of seven Canadian artists whose bonds with the natural world inform and inspire their creative processes. Alana Bartol, Bryce Krynski, Heather Shillinglaw, Jay Mosher, Tyler B. Jordan, Rocio Graham and Julya Hajnoczky each have a deep connection to the natural world, and this connection is the fundamental driver of their artistic practices. Each artist’s relationship with nature influences their conceptual foundations and processes and then visually manifests itself through various approaches. This national group exhibition showcases a diverse collection of works that includes video projections, elaborate garments, large-scale photographs, a forest installation, and an immersive ultraviolet video.

According to the biophilia hypothesis, “Humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life.”  In contrast to this tendency is the growing loss of human-nature interactions. Ecologist Robert M. Pyle talks about “the extinction of experience” in his memoir The Thunder Tree, explaining, “A high proportion of people are becoming progressively less likely to have direct contact with nature in their everyday lives.” He emphasizes “how vital it is to forge an emotional intimacy with nature. Those who do not directly interact with nature are likely to lose the health and well-being advantages it provides.”  For example, a study conducted by Professor Catharine Ward Thompson found that “people who lived near larger areas of green space reported less stress and showed greater declines in cortisol levels over the course of the day.”

In Our Nature presents an opportunity to engage with a diverse visual narrative. It sparks us to reevaluate our relationship with the natural world. When was the last time you walked barefoot on the grass? Or jumped in a lake to swim with the fish? The revered Canadian academic and environmental activist David Suzuki put it best: “The natural environment informs us about what it means to be human. We can only gain a thorough sense of our human identity in the face of our own limitations . . . through comparison with non-human entities.”