Upcoming Exhibition ‘Reframing The Wild’ To Wolverhampton Art Gallery In Summer 2019

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My name is April-Lina and I am delighted to have been awarded the Midlands Art Papers research scholarship, for this summer. I am really looking forward to being involved with the amazing public art collections, across the Midlands.

My New Role at MAP

As well as writing the MAP blog and an article for the journal, I am also involved in a future exhibition co-curated by Dr Kate Nichols and Dr Sam Shaw. The exhibition has grown out of the new University-Museum partnerships fostered by MAP. Taking place at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery in Summer 2019, this exhibition will be a historical compliment to the gallery’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition.

Reframing the Wild Exhibition

The exhibition will be titled ‘Reframing the Wild’ exploring relationships between humans, animals and artworks ranging from 1750 to the present day. This will demonstrate the changing ways in which humans have shaped our understandings of the natural world through artworks, examining the term ‘wildlife’ and ideas about wilderness.

Charles Towne, A Tiger, 1818, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Midlands Art Papers
Charles Towne, A Tiger, 1818, Oil Painting

One artwork certain to make an appearance is Charles Towne’s (1763 – 1840) A Tiger, painted in 1818, belonging to Wolverhampton Art Gallery’s collection. Towne was well known for his paintings of animals. This painting displays a ferocious tiger, set against a backdrop of exotic plants.

A Comment From The Curator: Dr Kate Nichols

Animals feature in so many art works, but they are often ignored or not even noticed. Most approaches to art and animals see animals as objects, rather than subjects – as mere symbols, to be peeled away to reveal a larger theme. This exhibition draws on recent research in critical animal studies. It sets out to take animal imagery seriously as a means of interaction between human and non-human animals, in terms of its materials (most art works are made from animal products), and the relationships between people and the animals who modelled for them (dead and alive). It considers how non-human animals contributed to art history – rather than how they were simply represented, and it doesn’t shy away from the cruelty and unequal power relations which continue to dominate human-animal interactions.

Sam and I are very excited to have the opportunity to curate an exhibition alongside Wildlife Photographer of the Year, and to offer some historical context to the idea of ‘wildness’. Wolverhampton has some fantastic animal art works, and we’re really keen to foreground local connections to the animal trap making industry in Wednesfield, so there will be some perhaps rather unexpected items on display!

The exhibition also coincides with Sam’s new 3rd year special subject module ‘An Unnatural History’, so there will be a whole new cohort of students ready to engage with the exhibition, and opportunities for students to volunteer with museum education specialists.

This is certainly an exciting and thought-provoking exhibition to look out for next summer!

Time for one more read?

If you enjoyed today’s post, you will enjoy our recent post on the ‘Coming Out’ Exhibition at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.


Author: April-Lina Waine

I am an undergraduate student at University of Birmingham, studying History of Art. I am working with Midlands Art Papers as part of the UGRS scheme.

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