In contemporary life, our direct contact with the natural world is fractured and mediated. The rural landscape has been shaped, we roam through conserved parks as interlopers in a tamed wilderness that is no longer our home but our leisure. Rebecca Spooner’s work reconnects the tamed viewer to a feral other. In her installations the distance between the urban and the rural, between the present day and the indistinct history of myths and fables has collapsed.
Rather than using the featured animals to engage us on an Aesop-style anthropomorphic level – which depends on received wisdoms or literary codes – Rebecca’s rich installations use a process of association by building a rich and layered understanding of the natural world and our place within it. She uses the pathetic fallacy that ascribes the natural world with human capabilities, sensations, and emotions: moments when nature acts ‘in sympathy’ with human desires or emotions. It was a favorite of Romantic writers – in moments of sorrow, it rains; in moments of anguish the weather is tempestuous; animals mirror their human counterparts. This pathetic fallacy can use the qualities of animals to convey unconscious desires and sensual metaphors more effectively than a prosaic account of events might do.
Rebecca’s practice focuses on Romantic themes of nature, offering a glorification of emotional experience that spans the mortal and the divine.
Rebecca would like to thank: Richard Bevan, Virginia Head, Jackie Chettur and Hugh Fowler.