The domestication of dogs, that is when human and canine agreed to each other's companionship, has a long history. Recent scientific findings date the earliest known grave in which owner and companion were buried together to 15,000 years ago. Evidence also suggests the existence of a cross-species relationship beginning some 32,000 years ago when the wolf and dog separated genetically. Modern dog breeds are defined by their distinctive historical and contemporary human-canine relationships. For example, the Greyhound was believed to be of ancient stock, rendering it an ideal breed for eighteenth-century aristocracy who associated it with their own claims to heritage and status.
Cultured Canines highlights the mythology built into the identity and cultural meaning of different dog breeds in a way that is both absurd and critical. It encourages the viewer to consider the cultures that inform how the histories and lives of animals are perceived, and to appreciate the actual and imagined roles animals play in our lives.
Working with Dr Eleni Aloupi-Siotis at Thetis Authentics, this collaboration looks to combine techniques and manufacturing processes of black- and red-figure ceramics from the Classical period with new designs.
Thetis Authentics uses ancient techniques in conjunction with scientific analysis to reproduce ancient ceramics.
Milstein Exhibition Centre, Cambridge University Library
24 November 2017 to 29 March 2018
The new science of geology flourished throughout Britain during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The countrysides of England, Scotland and Wales exhibited an usually wide range of geological formations, making them ideal places for building a 'bigger picture' of Nature and natural systems. How layers of earth stacked together was a source of significant debate among early geologists, as dramatic distortions of the Earth's crust led to confusion about the original order of deposited sediment that, over time, gradually formed into strata. Surveys and maps were an essential part of the geologist's toolkit in working to uncover how strata ascended and to understand the forces that shaped the visible landscape.
Major breakthroughs, gradual developments, and arguments are played out across the maps, models, specimens, and books in this exhibition. Landscapes Below explores map-making, and how novel interpretations of the British landscape influences our understanding of the Earth.
An online version of the exhibition is available to visit.
Learn more about Landscapes Below during this interview with a local news station.
This multidisciplinary research seeks to demonstrate how debates regarding aesthetic sensibility and pictorial depiction shaped the way that late eighteenth- and early nineteenth- century natural philosophers in Britain envisioned the world and the types of questions asked about Nature. Focusing on the activities of early geologists and their antiquarian, dilettanti, and artistic contemporaries, Archetypes of Nature: Visualising Geological Landscape during the British Enlightement examines history of landscape as a central concept for considering intersections between art and science, and cultural modes of understanding Nature and its laws. During the period examined, the relationship between artifice and the natural world, as debated in philosophical and artistic circles, paralleled arguments developed in the earth sciences. Mineralogists and geologists appropriated forms of inquiry such as art and architectural theory to help them wrestle with definitions of ‘artificial’ and 'natural' that informed their work. Combining art history and history of science, this study seeks to re-evaluate the importance of cultural and historical expression as found in the new science of geology.
Ink wash drawing by James Skene, c. 1809, done while on a geological tour in Scotland with George Bellas Greenough. Reproduced with permission of the Geological Society of London Archives.
From Eohippus to Equus
Spring 2004. Pen and ink on paper with monoprint. Individual panels are 152 cm x 76 cm. Sextych measures 152 cm x 456 cm