Go green with these nature-inspired online exhibitions

Published 28 May 2020

Museums and galleries are bringing the great outdoors to you at home – we round up the best nature-inspired exhibitions to see digitally now.

At a time when our access to the great outdoors is limited, and highlights of the horticultural calendar like the annual Chelsea Flower Show were attended virtually, we’re looking to museums, galleries and historic houses to bring the outside in and keep us connected to nature.

This week we look at some of the best online nature exhibitions you can see now, from a hypnotic journey into the world of the humble mushroom to a collection of love letters from an artist to the natural world he loves – bringing mother nature to you at home.

In focus: Mushrooms: The Art, Design and Future of Fungi at Somerset House

The unsung hero of the vegetable world – who would have thought the humble mushroom had such a vivid history inspiring artists, thinkers, writers and scientists for generations?

Somerset House takes you into the heart of their exhibition Mushrooms: The Art, Design and Future of Fungi in a hypnotic virtual tour. The exhibition explores mushrooms as featured in popular culture such as Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, the powerful lure of magic mushrooms and Seana Gavin’s entrancing mushroom photomontages such as Mindful Mushroom (2017).

Looking at the mushroom’s integral role in planetary survival as an alternative material for sustainable fashion, as well as its lasting image as a symbol of resilience and its hybrid nature of being, this exhibition makes the unassuming fungus sing.

More of the natural world to explore online…

John Newling: Dear Nature at Ikon Gallery

This exhibition is truly a love letter to nature, bringing together a book of letters written by artist John Newling exploring our relationship to the natural world, and how our actions have determined the environmental situation we find ourselves in today. Through a collection of videos online, Newling takes you through the outdoor exhibition spaces and large-scale sculptures, as well as the letters that are at the exhibition’s heart.

Explore Waddesdon’s gardens

Wander around the gorgeous Waddesdon Manor gardens from the comfort of your own home. You can explore the exquisite French pavilion-style aviary, learn about the birds that call it home or witness the reconstruction of Apollo’s head on a Savonnerie carpet made entirely from plants, all online. You can even download a lavish garden backdrop for your next video call, to give yourself a slice of garden at home.

The Botanical Mind: Art, Mysticism and The Cosmic Tree at Camden Arts Centre

Exploring the significance of the plant kingdom to human existence, this group exhibition dives into topics such as Indigenous traditions in the Amazon rainforest, scientific theory and plant intelligence. In a collection of digital commissions including podcasts, films, texts, images and audio, you can learn about themes such as the cosmic tree as a universal archetype and the influence of natural patterns, through mixed media art.

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Help solve the Garden Museum’s unanswered questions by identifying photographs in their collections, as part of the Great Garden Hunt project. Each week they’re reaching out to you to get in touch and show off your horticultural knowledge on a range of themes, such as garden fashion and object identification.

And, for a splendid garden read check out the Hepworth Wakefield’s curator diary, where Nicola Freeman reflects on the year since they began work landscaping the garden, explaining how they were inspired by the work of seminal artists who spent their lives celebrating gardening, such as Barbara Hepworth and Derek Jarman.

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