Fabrica – Brighton

Four speakers explore our complex relationship with natural world.

Art historian Dr Alexandra Loske outlines late 18th century concepts of the beautiful, the sublime and the picturesque and discusses the relationship between nature and the individual – a key subject in Romantic landscape painting.

Ecologist Rich Howorth is Project Officer for Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere Partnership
He explains how our contemporary perceptions of nature impact on biodiversity and how the Partnership is trying to address this.

Dr Martin Jordan is a psychotherapist, counsellor and international expert on ecopsychology.
He introduces this new field of practice, which focuses on our emotional and psychological connection with the natural environment.

Hayley Skipper, Curator of Arts Development for the Forestry Commission England. Focussing on Jerwood Open Forest, Hayley will describe how commissioning artists opens up the possibility for new encounters with nature, and art.

Another top talk at Fabrica complementing the Marcus Coates exhibition.

Dr Alexandra Loske presented a quick run through the Romantic painters from the late 18th and early 19th century this included thoughts about the sublime and rise of the status of landscape painting, some of the works shown included Turner and Constable in Sussex and painting sketches, which to the modern eye look more appealing the the finished work. Caspar David Friedrich and Thomas Gainsborough also featured strongly in  the talk.

Rich Howorth talked about the new Unesco site for the downs and Brighton area – how we can build a relationship between the natural spaces and bring them into urban areas, for example the sheep grazing on the open areas of Brighton and planting butterfly banks, all interesting ways get more species of plants and insects nearer to urban populations.

Dr Martin Jordan explains the use of ecopsychology to help people using outdoor therapy – the aim is to take people out into nature rather than looking at four walls and a couch and to go deeper into reasons of modern anxieties. I found this to be most interesting as like most people feel better for a walk and enjoy my allotment even if it’s just to potter about.

Hayley Skipper is a curator and worked with the Jerwood to choose five artists in a open call exhibition based on the forests in England – the work ranged from films, sound and gameplay to using data to produce a sculpture. The aim was the get people to engage with the forests in a new way. It’s sad to think we have so little open access woodland in the UK, let’s hope the tories don’t get in again to sell it off.

There has been much to think about here.. Lovely buffet too. Many thanks to the volunteers.

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30th April 2015