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Imagining the Amazon by Tamsin Relly

‘Short of Aphrodite, there is nothing lovelier on this planet than a flower, nor more essential than a plant…Without green plants we would neither breathe nor eat. On the under-surface of every leaf a million movable lips are engaged in devouring carbon dioxide and expelling oxygen.’ The Secret Life of Plants (Tomkins, Bird 1973)

Imagining the Amazon is an exhibition of new paintings and monotypes by Tamsin Relly, curated by Alix Janta-Polczynski (Alteria Art) in the Garden Room at The Collective, The House of St Barnabas. The series explores the relationships between wild and cultivated jungle environments; and the preservation of these ecosystems through conservation, remote constructed greenhouses and our imaginations. While celebrating the wonder and bio-diversity of life in the world’s rainforests, Relly’s work considers the fragility and decline of these habitats through deforestation and climate change. Set against the backdrop of the rainforest-inspired wallpape­­­r of the Garden Room, the installation reflects on how notions of exotic environments are woven into the­ everyday through art, design and popular culture. ‘I’ve always taken comfort in the idea of a wild landscape, but as more and more of our natural world is cultivated, destroyed or made vulnerable to humanity’s influence, perhaps a true wilderness is beginning to live more in our imaginations than reality.’  Relly has drawn from both found media imagery and first-hand observations in locations such as The Eden Project in Cornwall, Milkwood forests in South Africa and displaced wildlife in zoos. She works with the fluid and unpredictable qualities of her materials and processes to present impressions of natural and urban environments in states of uncertainty or impermanence. 

Tamsin Relly is a London based visual artist who works across a range of media including painting, print-making and photography. South Africa born­­, she moved to London in 2009 and received her Masters in Fine Art at City & Guilds of London Art School in 2011. Relly’s work has been exhibited and collected widely in the United Kingdom and internationally, including in group shows at The Royal Academy of Arts, Ronchini  and T J Boulting in London. Artist residencies include RE·THINK: Environment, National Maritime Museum, London (2015), Pocantico, Rockefeller Brother Fund, New York (2015), and The Arctic Circle, Svalbard (2014). Relly was recently shortlisted for the Denton’s Art Prize in London.

We are pleased to donate 7% of the proceeds towards World Land Trust for the purchase and protection of tropical forests.