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The human-animal interface

09 June 2010

Humpback, one of the pictures in the exhibition. Paul Evans 2010Humpback, one of the pictures in the exhibition. Paul Evans 2010

A new exhibition combining art and archaeology will explore our historic relationship with animals from a new perspective.

Launched on Thursday 10 June, the Animism exhibition features works by artist Paul Evans as part of his Leverhulme Trust residency at the School of History and Archaeology.

Following on from the successful Beacon for Wales Future Animals project based within the School, Paul has created new works that explore contrasting perspectives on our relationship with other animals.

Exhibits include large-scale drawings based on the documentation of pits produced by archaeologists during excavation. Within these pits are three animals - hare, stag and bear – each of which has maintained a symbolic, even mystical relationship with human beings over many millennia.

In other works paint is used to explore our biological kinship with other creatures.

Speaking about the exhibition, Paul Evans said: "These paintings and drawings provide a springboard for the reassessment of our world view - a timely concern given our current relationship with the environment. It is through the archaeological narrative that the story of our timeless relationship to other species takes form. This residency has offered the perfect opportunity to creatively explore the connections between human and animal, culture and biology."

Dr Jacqui Mulville, a bioarchaeologist at the School of History and Archaeology said: "My research focuses on our changing attitude to animals over time, from hunted prey to pampered pet, via the medium of their skeletal remains. This residency has provided a new medium within which to examine our shared histories."

The exhibition is launched at 7.30pm on Thursday 10 June at the Atrium Gallery, School of Optometry and Vision Sciences. It will remain on show until 22 July 2010 and can be viewed between 9.00am – 5.00pm weekdays.

Paul Evans is a contemporary artist who lives and works in Sheffield. His practice encompasses a number of different styles of drawing and painting. He employs a range of creative strategies including close collaboration with academics, creative writers and designers. Both personal and collaborative practices are used to explore aspects of our physical and emotional relationship with nature. Previous works have included a life sized drawing of a sperm whale that was installed in a massive deconsecrated church in Lincolnshire. Paul has exhibited throughout the UK and won a number of significant awards and prizes.

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