With increasing urbanisation and technological advancement humanity’s connection with and place within the natural world is evolving. Naturophilia imagines possible urban futures immersed in natural forms, and explores how we can synergistically engage with nature.

Image detail: Peter Sharp, Bone Machine, 2013, cow bone, found chair and one piece of painted hand sawn timber, 92 x 60 x 55cm.

23 March – 12 April
Opening 22 March 6pm-8pm
LAB-14 Gallery, Carlton Connect Initiative
700 Swanston St, Carlton

Gallery hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9am-5pm
Wednesday 9am-6pm
Special viewing – Saturday 1 April, 1pm-5pm

Featuring: Martin King and Peter Sharp
with an opening night performance by Sam Colcheedas

Download the naturophilia web catalogue:


naturophilia [noun] the state or experience of a strong attraction or affinity to nature; nature loving.

To be naturophilic: to possess qualities that allow the ready absorption of or the dissolution into nature.

“Look! The beauty – but that is nothing – look at the accuracy, the harmony. And so fragile! And so strong! And so exact! This is Nature – the balance of colossal forces. Every star is so – and every blade of grass stands so – and the mighty Kosmos in perfect equilibrium produces – this. This wonder; this masterpiece of Nature – the great artist.”

Joseph Conrad, novelist (from the novel, Lord Jim)

Throughout history humankind has sought to shape its surroundings and curate its environment to promote the flourishing of its own species. In Western culture Nature has been viewed as something ‘out there’ to be tamed and co-opted for human use. But now, with growing urgency surrounding climate change, environmental destruction, and mass species extinction we appear to be arriving at a crossroad. Some have argued that we should return to a simpler lifestyle closer to our hunter/gatherer ancestors. More realistically, will we use our tools, technology and imagination to continue to terraform the planet? Or can we reacquaint ourselves with the natural world and live prosperously in harmony with it?

Curator Dr Renee Beale presents Naturophilia as a provocation to consider possible urban futures where our relationship to nature has shifted, where human-made realities and the natural world have dissolved into one another thriving as one, and the age of the Anthropocene has ended.

Through sculpture, painting, drawing and animation, artists Martin King and Peter Sharp reveal to us a new way of interpreting nature and comprehending our interventions within it. In a specially commissioned piece about the gathering of wind energy symbiotically with nature, emerging composer and pianist Sam Colcheedas will perform live on Opening night, and recorded music will be available for download.

With sensitivities to both the urban and natural environments, King and Sharp provide us with unique connections to ponder, and further, new realities to glimpse. Equipped with this greater understanding, we arrive at the revelation that focussing our attention on the natural world can more deeply inform our lived experience and illuminate the most auspicious path forward.