Matthew Smith's free-standing sculptures are scaled-down models of lakes from the Lake District National Park, filled with water, fish and aquatic plants. Ennerdale Water, Crummock Water and Buttermere have been reduced in size to resemble garden ponds, but have been carefully constructed to depict the intricate edges of the real lakes, describing all their inlets and promontories.
The viewer is encouraged to linger in this constructed environment and contemplate the faux-natural scene as if they were in a garden, watching the fish, relaxing and listen to the bubbling of water.
In combining the domesticated, cultivated nature of the garden, with massive large-scale natural land formations created over thousands of years, the artist represents the domestication and consumption of nature through tourism in such places as the Lake District. The work seeks to question our relationship to the natural world by combining and mixing up two distinct areas within which we come into contact with nature, one supposedly man made and artificial and the other seemingly more authentic and wild.
The artist says, Both a garden and a national park have elements in common - they are both in their way man made, are both very much presented for visual consumption and are both sites for human recreation, whilst at the same time both provide habitat and territory for non-human organisms"."
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