An absorbing exhibition of the work of American artist Kiki Smith is at Modern Art Oxford until 19 January. I am a Wanderer is a compelling outpouring of creativity from an abundantly fertile imagination. Smith's magnificent tapestries, woven in Belgium, are like scenes from fables and myth, appropriate in the city which was home to Lewis Carroll, Tolkein, C. S. Lewis, and now Philip Pullman. Smith's prints, sculptures and photographs demonstrate the capabilities of an artist with unbounded curiosity, keen to embrace and share her interest in the environment and our relationship with the natural world. She is an artist with an open mind, not afraid to let go as she unfurls her imagination and reveals her ideas, whether through tapestry, sculpture or printmaking. Picasso comes to mind - another artist whose creativity was manifested prolifically through a range of media, sometimes playfully. As concern rightly grows about climate change and the destruction of the natural world, talented artists like Kiki Smith have an opportunity to remind us of our interdependence with nature, our role as stewards of the planet, and our responsibilities towards it. Smith does this with subtlety and sensitivity.
In 2020 my exhibition theme at The Garden Gallery will be Gilbert White of Selborne, 'father of ecology' and author of The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne. As you may know, 2020 is the tercentenary of Gilbert's birth. Read more about him here https://gilbertwhiteshouse.org.uk/Gilbert-White/. Gilbert White's house and garden are well worth visiting.
In view of the climate crisis, along with many other serious threats to our environment, it seems timely to remember and celebrate Gilbert. Gilbert monitored the weather, as well as recording his observations of wildlife.
"All the Fading Landscape" will run from 16 May to 13 June.