'Uncanny Nature' with Carole Shepheard

  • 7 March 2016
  • Sarah Holden

Uncanny: seemingly supernatural, mysterious
Nature: 1. thing’s essential qualities 2. kind, sort, class 3. inherent impulses determining character or action

Blossom (October) by Carole ShepheardPerhaps it has been the shift from an urban environment to a rural one that has forced me to try to make sense of the relationship human beings have with the physical world. My own position is equally ambiguous as I attempt to cultivate and control a garden at the same time as being mesmerised by my surroundings and their unfashionable wildness. I have accepted my antipathy towards the need to shape, tame and control the natural world and acknowledge that a balance is needed, and in my case an embracing of the feral! This is probably best explained by the weeds that spring up unannounced, grow vigorously in unfriendly places and demand constant attention. I have used this as a metaphor for my current work. 

Michael Pollen in his book Second Nature, suggests, “Weeds are not super-plants: they don’t grow everywhere … weeds, as the field guides indicate, are plants particularly well adapted to man-made places … They grow where we live, in other words and hardly anywhere else.”

I have assembled this body of work (some recent and some older) to show this exploration of my environment and my attraction to things wild, things untamed and things uncontrollable.  This includes a fascination with space and infinity, the sea and its fearsome unpredictability, and of course gaining a new respect for the insect, animal and bird life that I share my days with.

Nature is however as just as unreliable and unstable as art can be, and the shifts it makes create visual challenges. I have spent the past ten years pretending my art is relatively unaffected by my physical world but this cannot be true as I am now captivated by each change of season, the velvety night sky, the growth of blackberries, the range of roadside flowers, and by the scent of things that are only manifest at night. 

Carole M Shepheard
March 2016


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