Land/Sea at National Museum Wales
10 July 2021 – 27 February 2022,
National Museum Wales at Oriel y Parc, St Davids, SA62 6NW
Mike Perry – Land / Sea. 2021. A ffotogallery production. In partnership with National Museum Wales. Supported by Arts Council Wales. All images © Mike Perry.
In his solo museum show, Mike Perry brings our attention to the environmental destruction happening on our doorsteps. Rather than distant locations such as melting glaciers or burning rainforests, Perry focuses his lens on our National Parks. Despite the aesthetic beauty of his images, they shed a very different light on the landscape than we are accustomed to seeing in tourist brochures or romantic paintings. Instead of being areas of ‘unspoilt wilderness’ or ‘natural beauty’, Perry reveals that our National Parks are often dominated by unsustainable farming practices that threaten biodiversity. His work is an urgent reminder that the environmental problems in our areas of natural beauty often go unnoticed – a message that is all the more resonant when exhibited in a gallery that is itself a gateway to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
In this adaption of his touring exhibition Land/Sea, Perry includes new works that suggest the narrative around the COP26 Climate Conference should go beyond carbon reduction and embrace wider issues of biodiversity and species extinction. New works include Ash Dieback, Moonlight, 2020,a melancholic reminder of the ‘other pandemic’ sweeping the British countryside, Hedgerow Confusion, 2020, a composite of photographs suggesting climate change has already thrown our native trees out of sync with their environment, Flailed Hawthorn 2020 that alludes to a farming culture that wants to tidy up nature rather than let it flourish, Burnt Fertilizer Bags (Red, White & Blue) 2019, an iconic politically loaded lump of congealed plastic and Common Land 2020, a scene from an ‘idyllic’ picnic spot in the Welsh hills which the artist suggests may not be so idyllic !
‘Land/Sea is an exhibition that addresses the immeasurable and overwhelming issue of climate change amd biodiversity loss from a local and hyper-local perspective. From large-scale contested landscapes to smaller, forensic studies of plastic objects taken in the studio, Perry’s work is a micro-study of a global issue that brings into focus the impact of the ecological emergency on one’s own doorstep. There is a conflict and discomfort between the beauty of the works and the terrifying reality that they represent, which is made all the more powerful by one’s familiarity with the material. There is both an urgency and an agency to the exhibition that solicits attention and, hopefully, inspires action’.
Bronwen Colquhoun, Senior Curator of Photography, National Museum Wales← Back