Evolutionary Tree, Creative Reactions

Deborah Gardner recently collaborated with the scientist Dr Catrin Rutland (Veterinary School of Medicine, University of Nottingham) in a Creative Reactions virtual exhibition.

The exhibition, titled ‘Evolutionary Tree’, is the ‘art meets science’ branch of the national science fair Pint of Science. Evolutionary Tree is a sculptural response to Dr Catlin Rutland’s discovery of the first os cordis bone in a chimpanzee’s heart.

Evolutionary Tree senses the tree-like structure within the micro CT scanning of the newly discovered bone and the resulting sculpture allows an internal scaffold to spread out branch-like. The tree of life is a universally understood model to explore the evolution of life and relationships based upon similarities and differences; it seems apt that the os cordis discovered for the first time in a chimpanzee’s heart reminds us that these similarities and differences among biological species are open to reappraisal.

New Doggerland version II. Thames side Gallery London

New Doggerland (version II) is the second larger group exhibition about future land and humans. It asks questions to which the exhibitors and participants will respond with different ideas and answers. Who will be living there and how? It may evoke a Ballardian dystopia, or ideas of possible Utopia. Or could New Doggerland be the heterotopia where we go to experience ‘other’ selves, a place of becoming?

Deborah Gardner considers future shifting plant environments from the local to the alien and imaginary considerations of plants in space, partly inspired by recent images of NASA’s experiments with growing plants on space craft and science fiction visions of extra-terrestrial colonisation. She has imagined her work and New Doggerland as a manifestations from the sentient ocean in Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris.

Passages. The Old Parcel Office Art Space

Passages is a Yorkshire Sculpture group exhibition at the Old Parcel Office Art Space, Scarborough. The exhibition responds to the history of the art space, formerly a waiting room at the station and then a red parcel office, and the passengers travelling to and from the city. The steam train signalled the dawn of the new modern world, enabling the public to visit seaside resorts, unaware it also signalled the beginning of the Anthropocene. Once a waiting room for Scarborough train station, The Old Parcel Office traces a history of passages to and from the sea, as crowds of tourists travelled by steam train. Scarborough can still boast its continuing success as a beautiful seaside resort. Initiatives, such as the marine industry pioneering large-scale seaweed farming, indicates exciting developments in environmental protection through carbon sequestration and the emergence of another form of tourism, ecotourism. Seaweed marine forests are growing off the Scarborough coast, we are invited to see how these initiatives work and buy seaweed produce, creating future passages for seaside tourism and souvenirs.

Invasive Species: shaping the landscape

Invasive Species: shaping the landscape at Cannon Hall Museum, Park and gardens (2021) explores ideas around how relationships are shaped between plant life, humanity and control, to maintain the delicate balance between order and disorder and how this may be reflected in garden design history. The work reflects on our shifting relationship with plantlife, responding to the forms and colours of poisonous flowers placed within the delicate planting within the walls of the kitchen gardens. Other work responds to the swollen form of succulents and is placed with the large succulents and cacti in one of the kitchen gardens greenhouse.