In My Nature

11 Jun 2018 – 22 Jun 2018

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The Camera Club

England, United Kingdom


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In My Nature is a solo show by Rowan Spray, a fine artist who's work focuses on botanical and natural still life photography.


My work is preoccupied with the natural world. I  grew up in the Forest of Dean (Glos), and inherited a love of nature from my parents - a botanist father and an artist mother. Growing up with the forest and a rambling garden as the backdrop to my youth left me with many magical memories and instilled in me a sense of wonder and awe which I hope comes across in my work. For my parents, and for me, nature did not just mean pretty flowers in the garden, but the wider ecology of a place. Living in London since 2004 I have increasingly felt the need to surround myself with nature, to filter out the city, longing to escape back to a more nature-centric life. My personal projects have allowed me some of this much needed escapism. Bringing natural things into my studio and placing them in front of my lens is therapeutic, even necessary, as it is easy to feel removed from nature in an urban setting. Much of my studio based work places natural objects onto empty backdrops, often a black void which emphasises the removal of extraneous things. Focusing on a few small objects allows me to look at them with fresh eyes, to study them, and to make connections with other objects. Giving all your attention to things that you might otherwise overlook, and remembering that a squashed bug can be as interesting as a perfect flower, allows me to feel immersed in nature even when the nature available is minimal. 

In My Nature draws together works from several projects and works in progress. Bin Flowers is a project that I embarked upon when I found myself living in the middle of Soho, close to Berwick Street Market. Walking past every day, I noticed the piles of spent flowers that were discarded by the market stalls, left for the refuse collections. I began to collect these flowers whenever I could, and to photograph them in my studio. Flowers are a difficult commodity, delicate, temporal, often exotic and flown from far flung climes. Although the flowers were unfit for sale they still retained their beauty and I did not want them to go to waste. I wanted to immortalise them, to give them a new life, and simultaneously to mark their passing. The obvious tension between natural object in an unnatural setting (my studio) also necessarily speaks about our own relationship with nature, how we view it, control it and manipulate, and abuse it. 

Flora & Fauna is another recent project, and was born out of my fathers habit of saving things (insects, feathers, the odd bird skull or wasps nest) that he found in the garden, keeping them until I visited and me then heading off to London with my treasures carefully wrapped up. Each item was paired with a natural object I had found in my daily life, and thus felt like a dialogue  between myself and my family, but also between the place I grew up, and the place I was now living. The simplicity of the project - of pairing two objects one vegetable, one animal - allows me to think about the symbiotic relationships within nature, and the cyclical nature of the world. 

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