ENVIRONMENT

Take a look at the work of artists who explore the environment as a subject. From our natural surroundings to the issues that influence our ability to coexist on this planet

By Modern Art Oxford

Liquid Crystal Environment (1998/1999) by Gustav MetzgerModern Art Oxford

Defining Environment 

The environment is something we are very familiar with. It's everything that makes up our surroundings and affects our ability to live on the earth - the air we breathe, the water that covers most of the earth's surface, the plants and animals around us, and much more.  

Some people say they think it sounds like aluminium foil but to me aluminium foil is not the sound (2014/2014) by Hannah RickardsModern Art Oxford

Environmentalism

Although the environmental movement can trace its origins to the industrial revolution of the 19th century, it was really from the 1960s that the environmental movement gathered momentum as part of a dramatic groundswell of activism related to the issues of human rights. 















Environmentalists advocate the sustainable management of resources and stewardship of the environment through changes in public policy and individual behavior.  In its recognition of humanity as a participant in (not enemy of) ecosystems, the movement is centered on ecology, health, and human rights.

Installation view (1980-11-11/1980-12-23) by Richard LongModern Art Oxford

Our relationship to our environment, especially to nature, has provided rich subject matter for contemporary artists ranging from politically engaged practices to more poetic reflections on our surroundings.  

Liquid Crystal Environment (1998/1999) by Gustav MetzgerModern Art Oxford

Art and Environmentalism 

Gustav Metzger was born of Polish-Jewish parents in Nuremberg, Germany and brought to England as a child refugee in 1939. For over 50 years, Metzger created art that protested against the destructive effects of globalised capitalism on the environment, amongst other causes.  In the face of this reality, Metzger's response was to devise work that had auto-destruction or auto-creation as the creative principle, so called Auto-Destructive Art of which he was the founder. 

Liquid Crystal Environment, Gustav Metzger, 1965/1998, From the collection of: Modern Art Oxford
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Tsumeb Fragments (2015/2015) by Otobong NkangaModern Art Oxford

Otobong Nkanga explores the environment of her native Nigeria. She creates landscapes with clean, hard-edged lines that address the political and ecological impacts of Nigeria's oil industry.

Viral Landscapes (1989/1989) by Helen ChadwickModern Art Oxford

Helen Chadwick's 'Viral Landscapes' was a personal and passionate response to the coastal landscape of Pembrokeshire, set in the context of a growing concern about ecological pollution.

Installation view (1980-11-11/1980-12-23) by Richard LongModern Art Oxford

Back to nature 

Many contemporary artists adapt forms of nature and use elements and materials from the natural world directly in their work. 

KALEIDOSCOPE: It's Me to the World (2016/2016) by Mohamed Qasim Ashfaq, Richard LongModern Art Oxford

Richard Long's practice - ranging across land based natural sculpture, photography and text - is a direct response to the environments he has walked over, opening a heightened space for reflection.

Walking a Labyrinth (1971-12-09/1971-12-23) by Richard LongModern Art Oxford

Programme guide, Richard Long, 1979-11-11/1979-12-23, From the collection of: Modern Art Oxford
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A letter from Richard Long to the Director of the Museum of Modern Art Oxford (1970) by Richard LongModern Art Oxford

To enable me to fix my attention on any one of these symbols I was to imagine that I was looking at the colors as I might see them on a moving picture screen (2014/2014) by Hannah RickardsModern Art Oxford

Hannah Rickards explores the elusive landscape of perception and language, meticulously examining and deconstructing natural phenomena such as thunder, to investigate the nature of cognition.

To enable me to fix my attention on any one of these symbols I was to imagine that I was looking at the colors as I might see them on a moving picture screen, Hannah Rickards, 2014/2014, From the collection of: Modern Art Oxford
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Contemporary Art of Today: Environment (2017) by Modern Art OxfordModern Art Oxford

Credits: Story

Modern Art Oxford is an arts charity founded in 1965. It is a space for everyone to enjoy and experience contemporary art, for free. Every exhibition and event at Modern Art Oxford is supported financially by friends of the gallery and members of the public who help to safeguard our future by making regular donations. Without the support of these generous and committed individuals, we would be unable to produce these inspirational exhibitions, events and activities.

Modern Art Oxford is supported by Arts Council England and Oxford City Council.

The content provided in this series of exhibits and films is designed to provide helpful information on the subjects discussed. The exhibits and films are not designed to be used as complete analysis on these subjects. Images sourced for the exhibits and films are copyright to their respectful owners. Full credit information is listed in the details section linked to each image. Unless otherwise noted, the content provided is © Modern Art Oxford. All rights reserved. The content may not be copied in part or full without permission. Every effort has been made to trace copyright holders and to obtain their permission for the use of copyright material. Modern Art Oxford would be grateful to hear from any interested parties info@modernartoxford.org.uk

Modern Art Oxford is a charity registered in the UK: 313035

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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