Exhibition Dates: 3 March – 1 July 2018
Exhibition Preview Evening: Friday 2 March 2018 from 6.30pm
MOSTYN, Wales UK is pleased to present Land / Sea by artist Mike Perry whose work engages with significant and pressing environmental issues, in particular the tension between human activity and interventions in the natural environment, and the fragility of the planet’s ecosystems.
This major new exhibition brings together recent bodies of work addressing how the natural biodiversity of landscapes and marine environments is undermined and made toxic by human neglect, agricultural mismanagement and the pursuit of short-term profit at the expense of long-term sustainability.
Combining conceptual aesthetics with a pressing concern for the marine environment, Perry’s images shed a different light on the health of the seascapes one might see in tourist brochures. Môr Plastig (welsh for ‘Plastic Sea’) is an ongoing body of work that classifies objects washed up by the sea into groupings; bottles, shoes, grids, abstracts, and others. By using a high-resolution camera to capture the surface detail, the artist allows the viewer to ‘read’ markings and scars etched into the objects by the ocean over months and, in some cases, years. The viewer is intrigued and challenged by how a polluting object can be so aesthetically appealing. In Perry’s words, “in addition to seeing these pieces as symbols of over-consumption and disregard for the environment, I also see them as evidence of the beauty and power of nature to sculpt our world”.
Perry’s work resists easy categorisation. Photography is central to his practice, yet always in its multifaceted relationship to, and dialogue with, sculpture and installation art. The influence of Minimalism is strong, with serial arrangements and grids, and an interest in form, surface detail and abstraction. Repetition of visual motifs in specific bodies of work is deployed as an artistic strategy that is cumulative and greater than its parts, teasing out subtle differences whilst alerting us to the dystopian consequences of waste proliferation and environmental mismanagement.
The artist’s most recent work has focused on the coastline and rugged landscapes of West Wales close to the smallholding he owns, where he puts into practice the planting of native trees that restore and sustain the natural biodiversity. By collecting and photographing man-made objects washed up on the beaches, and recording in forensic detail the changing landscape around us, Perry alerts us to man’s impact on the ecosystem and to nature’s propensity to renew itself, even in the face of such adversity.
Land/Sea is originally produced by Ffotogallery, Cardiff, and curated by David Drake, Ffotogallery, and Ben Borthwick, Plymouth Arts Centre. The exhibition in MOSTYN has been developed in dialogue with Adam Carr, Visual Arts Programme Curator, and Alfredo Cramerotti, Director. The accompanying publication includes contributions from the writers George Monbiot and Skye Sherwin.
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