We all know that spending time in nature is good for us, our minds and bodies can relax a little and we breathe in a little deeper. There is plenty of science to back up these benefits too. In fact, even looking at images of natural environments makes us feel good, something that artists have perhaps subconsciously known for centuries in their ongoing quest to portray nature as beautifully as possible.
The Atkinson’s Natural High is a meditative display that gathers works from the gallery’s landscape collection. Referencing the 1800s period of discovery of British landscapes, the the show likens this time to that of the recent renewal of domestic travel and local holidays imposed by the pandemic. In the 19th century, artists turned to the undeniable beauty of the Lake District, the hills of Wales and the lochs and mountains of Scotland for inspiration and subject matter.
There is perhaps no scenery that inspires awe more so than mountains. Whether you’re planning a treacherous hike or prefer to contemplate their beauty from afar, the feeling of something greater than us is particularly perceptible when faced with grand hills and peaks. Indeed, Natural High offers mountain imagery in a multitude of styles: from the misty Romanticism of Scottish scenery by Alfred de Breanski in the piece Morning Mist, Kilchurn; to the angular, impasto brushstrokes of Tryfan, 2 by 20th century realist Kyffin William.
The exhibition explores different ways of seeing and offers simple meditative exercises throughout, using the pieces on display as starting points to reimagine our relationship with art and nature. Whether you’re a city-dweller craving the space and fresh perspective that a trip to the countryside can guarantee, or just a dose of gorgeous landscape painting, Natural High will make you take a deeper breath in.