Beverley Veasey - Habitats

Exhibition: 27 August to 27 September, 2008

Beverley Veasey

View Portfolio

Beverley Veasey's last exhibition Natural History (Stills Gallery 2006) depicted animals and birds in artificial environments. In Habitats she is still interested in the artificial however this time the inhabitants, the animals, are nowhere to be found. We are left to gaze at the man made spaces created to replicate the wild - taking us 'into the wild'.

There are monkey bars, but no orangutans; forests, but no bears; and token logs absent of reptiles lizards or snakes. Water holes suggest life just out of sight, but no matter how much our eyes search the crevices amongst fake rocks and grass, we find nothing. At the back of the habitats, positioned in rockfaces and painted landscapes, are doors - leading nowhere. Do they promise an escape or another world beyond?

A poignant sadness is suggested, although Veasey appears to hold a fond affection for these constructed spaces, revelling in the personal touches to be found within them. Is she suggesting we look at them in another way, gently reminding us that natural habitats are getting lost? If we do not preserve and honour them, we will lose them altogether. She also seems to be saying that our species has the ability to adapt to all environments, even fabricated ones.

Most remarkable are the painted landscapes reminiscent of Namatjira paintings or American recreations of the Grand Canyon. These mythic landscapes are the stuff of postcard dreams of travel beyond the limitations of the urban. What a wondrous view for a snake basking on that rocky ledge! Is it possible that our anthropomorphic urges have got the better of us?

Beverley Veasey has been exhibiting since the late 80's. Her work has been selected in many major prizes including the Citigroup Portrait Prize, the William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize and the Olive Cotton Prize. Her work is singular, thought provoking and rewarding.