Claire Harrison Art, British Artist, Oil Paintings, Nature, Flowers, Horsham, Sussex

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reclaiming nature series

Rewilding Humanity 1 oil painting


Rewilding Humanity #1

Oil on board,
21.5 x 50 cms, 8.5 x 20 inches

Original - £1,400

Limited Edition Print - £145.00


This painting has two sides to it, the first about nature physically able to destroy man-made structures, which is very much continuing the idea within the series.  The second is commenting on the attitude of society towards nature and where those ideas have come from.

The painting is of a series of arches I have drawn several times before from the inside of a church.  The architecture within cathedrals and churches are beautiful and are often imposing and made deliberately to make the congregation feel small and in awe of God.  Yet so many of these buildings are just as vulnerable to nature and "acts of God" as dioceses struggle to maintain these buildings due to the never-ending cost of pushing back against nature, such as weather erosion.   Simply walking around a graveyard, you will see the mosses and lichens breaking down the stone of the graves and benches within.

This has been painted largely from the imagination as trees intertwine and overwhelm the man-made structure.  I have deliberately created space beyond and around the arches, indicating the future, yet to be determined, but hope as mankind will need to choose nature above all else for it to survive.

This painting is a comment upon humanity's arrogant view of nature, it is there to be controlled and conquered, as society thinks of itself being apart from nature.  Incorrectly we think we are not animals but something more and nature's resources are only there for us to utilise.  Western religions have not helped this idea, as for the last 2000 years they are very man-centric and about saving the morality and soul of man and their journey to heaven or hell in the afterlife.  I believe this idea has led to a consumerist lifestyle and society, as many believe man is created in God's image and as long as you follow the 10 commandments you can do no wrong; and life is all about man's enrichment.  Sadly "thou shall not kill" is only considered to refer to fellow man. 

This is in contrast to eastern and pre-Christian religions that are about respecting nature and all that is in it.  I have seen many people try and kill insects and creatures because they assume it is a threat or they don't know what it is; it doesn't fit with their idea of beauty.  Pesticides are used to "save" crops but with dire consequences to the insect population.  Perhaps we should be rotating and growing different crops? 

We are only just starting to realise and legally designate some animals as sentient.  Who are we to consider putting a live sentient animal into boiling water to eat it because it safer to eat that way?  Scientists believe lobsters have complex nervous systems and feel the boiling water.  Maybe we shouldn't be eating them but finding an alternative source of protein elsewhere.  Sadly, for the lobster, it is considered a delicacy and an example for humanity to flaunt their affluence.

Even though the population is becoming less religious in the UK, the man-centric viewpoint remains and perhaps we could consider the new religion to be capitalism which is fuelled by man's own desire, the latest fashion and the must-haves. Until humanity realises that everything purchased, used and disposed of uses a variety of natural resources, we will continue to be threatened by climate change.  There needs to be a fundamental shift in society's psyche away from consumerism and man-centric thinking.  Humanity is just another species within the ecosystem and needs to co-exist with it.    We need to think about every action we take and whether it is needed and the impact it has upon the ecosystem around us.

Meanwhile on a daily basis the majority of us will continue to try and push back upon the nature around us, cleaning the algae from paving slabs, removing moss from the roof and weeding to the destruction of diversity.

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