Nature in our Lives / by Jeannine Cook

It has been a week of dealing with consumer goods - to put it generically - that all seem to be falling apart in very short order after they are bought and installed. The antithesis of the natural world, these are man made objects that horrify by the implications of their impact on the planet's future health, during their manufacture and also during their disposal. Alas, they all seem to be necessary in our life - things like refrigerators, computers, even plastic nuts for bolts.

A welcome break from these concerns came today when I was present during a visit to my Darien exhibition by a group of charming ladies from a St Simons Island Garden Club. This exhibition, At the Edge of the Marsh, continues at the McIntosh Art Association Gallery until 27th May.

As I stood in the gallery, explaining to these visitors about silverpoint and how you create these silver drawings, I was forcibly reminded of a remark I read some while ago. Julie Lohmann, a German designer, said, "There is a paradox at work. On one hand we are distancing ourselves from nature as far as humanly possible, creating our own artificial world, but the more we do that, the more we long to be a part of nature and bring it back into our lives..." (my emphasis).

The reaction of many of the visitors to my art today showed how eagerly they related to the depictions of flowers, of marsh scenes.. in other words, of nature. It was as though I was drawing and painting a world with which they felt very comfortable, a world that they welcomed in their lives as a very important ingredient of well-being. Their comments made me feel that there is a very necessary counter-balance to our consumer-driven society: nature and the magical, infinite manifestations of its diversity.