“We may learn a great deal from books, but we learn much more from the contemplation of nature—the reason and occasion for all books. The direct examination of phenomena has an indescribably disturbing and leavening effect … [a] revitalizing quality altogether absent … in even the most faithful copies and descriptions of reality.”
— Santiago Ramón y Cajal, 1897
ArtYard is pleased to present (in)animate, a group exhibition featuring the works of Thomas Beale, Bruce Gardner, Naoko Ito, Luci Jockel, Margaret Parish, Lauren Rosenthal and Carrie Witherell. Using organic matter or man-made materials that have fallen to natural processes, each artist’s practice is rooted in an examination of nature. Through the repurposing of dirt, tree branches, sunlight, water, bones, insects, rocks and rust, hybrids emerge in the form of sculpture, drawing, photography and installation.
In pondering what animates nature and what is missing in its absence, the artists in this exhibition reveal the innate memory of organic matter even long after its readaptation. The works on view invite us to examine our own cycles of transience and transformation, as well as the symbiotic relationship between our essence as living organisms and the environment.
This event also occasions the inauguration of a separate exhibition inspired by the Rhode Island School of Design’s Nature Lab, a miniature natural history museum which since the early 1900s has provided a library of natural materials for artists’ study and inspiration. Throughout the duration of the show, the public is invited to contribute nuts, seeds, bones or other found materials from nature, and to model a range of objects or fashion their own for instant portraits in the ArtYard Photomat.