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On The Brink – New Exhibition at dot-art Gallery


The Earth has always known species loss, from the dinosaurs onwards, but we are now seeing this loss at hugely accelerated rates, due the actions of humans. Generation by generation we see our animal kingdom and natural surroundings changing drastically; not only is there a reduction in the diversity of species, but a loss of their habitats, homes and means of survival. More and more species find themselves on the brink.

Just after COP26 the feeling now more than ever is one of impatience, that we are heading for disaster and cannot see the actions needed for preventing global warming, species loss and catastrophic weather events. Such a large global issue that affects everyone in the world can often feel too large to contemplate; This exhibition pulls focus to the impact of climate change to species and habitats in the UK. Each of the seven exhibiting artists has examined aspects of nature and wildlife affected by climate change and used the visual to give a face to this issue that seems too big to see, yet is staring us in the face.

Chris Routledge has created a series of cyanotypes of Larch trees with orange slashes of enamel paint cutting through. Larch trees are dying from fungal infection, which has spread from the international plant trade, and thrives in the warmer climate Britain is now experiencing. More worryingly, the disease affects many other types of trees and to prevent the spread of the disease larches are being felled across northern England. First, they are marked with an orange dot to be sentenced for cutting down. The orange splash of colour in these works which is applied with a glass rod also represent the sap of a freshly cut Larch.

The exhibition includes abstract paintings by Claire Western representing the disease phytophthora ramorum, responsible for the decline in Larch trees as well as other shrubs and vegetation. Felling is currently the easiest way to control the disease, however this means a lot of deforestation, habitat impacts and leaves the landscape sparse and unsightly. These paintings are created with charcoal, using deep colours of moss and rust whilst incorporating the textures of bark and ring patterns within the trees in line work.

Oliver McAinsh presents a series of drawings using photos taken at the Natural History Museum, Exploring the relationship between the crowds and the exhibits, the present and the past. The prominence of each is varied; either people are fully immersed by the intricate relics, demonstrating our obsession with other species, or it’s the sea of people that swamp the extinct creatures, leaving little room for anything else.

dot-art Director Lucy Byrne said:

“Species loss is a key issue in the climate agenda. Nature and climate are interlinked: climate change is one of the greatest threats to the natural world but restoring nature can tackle climate change by locking away carbon in healthy ecosystems. At dot-art we are committed to tackling the issues around sustainability and climate change in creative and innovative ways, demonstrating the power of art to stimulate debate and action. On The Brink follows on from our climate focused projects in 2021, Heavy Gardening and the Wild Walls Mural, and 2022 will also see the further development of the Tree Stories project.”

Join them on Zoom for a digital Private View of the exhibition on Thursday 27th January from 5pm, with a virtual tour, short talks from the exhibiting artists and a Q&A session. All welcome, register here:

The dot-art Gallery can be found at 14 Queen Avenue, Castle Street, Liverpool, L2 4TX (just 5 minutes walk from Liverpool One). Opening times: Tuesday – Saturday, 10am-6pm