Siobhan Davies Studios: Rambles With Nature (until 2nd March 2014)
Following this, I must say that the exhibition space is strange and does feel like it is impinging on the space of the dance studios. However, the actual pieces, all video and sound, are intriguing and exude a certain feeling of escapism, particularly as they are being exhibited with a South London backdrop. If the individual viewer is able to overlook the way in which the pieces are presented, that is clearly secondary to the main focus of the building, the content is pleasing. The first encounter in 'Rambles With Nature' is 'Fur and Feather'. It is probably important to point out at this stage that the works have been produced by Sheila Ghelani, an artist whose work diversifies between various kinetic forms, including performance and installation. Ghelani worked with 'straybird', a collective of artists who run workshops based on dialogue to form the exhibition. With this in mind, the nature (pun intended) of 'Rambles With Nature' seems to take a better shape.
Now 'Fur and Feather' provides us with some biographical details about Eliza Brightwen, who was a British naturalist from the nineteenth century. As the viewer is seated on a wooden bench in front of a small screen surrounded by a synthetic hedge, we are able to be almost consumed by the information given to us, which is delivered by a gentle female voice over memorial-like brass band music and moving images of birds. Again I will bring the location of Siobhan Davies Studios into the equation, as although the subject matter is consistently rural, values that are being expressed, such as appreciating nature without hierarchies, can be applied to daily urban life. In the capitalist reality that London finds itself a part of, it is important to retreat to simplicity and the exhibition somehow makes us acutely aware of this.