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Graphic Nature

Shell form on stone base, Peter Beard 2010
Saturday 29 January 2011 - Sunday 3 July 2011

Nature has always been a rich source of inspiration for artists and designers. But as our lives become increasingly urban and digitised, have we lost touch with forces and elements which once inspired awe and wonder? Have we outgrown the natural world?

This exhibition proves that nature still holds plenty of surprises, and continues to influence even the most contemporary of ideas. Natural patterns from giraffe skin to cauliflowers and Italian marble are transformed into edgy dramatic designs. Like the Arts and Crafts designers, some designers in the exhibition study nature to create decorative and useful objects for living. For other designers, it is the underlying complexities of nature – physical forces, mathematics and evolution – that appeal.

Drawing on historic decorative arts and natural history specimens from Museums Sheffield’s collections and the work of leading designers from across Europe, Graphic Nature is a vibrant celebration of nature’s continuing influence on design.

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  • William John Stevenson, River Don at Wardsend, Sheffield, 1875 © Museums Sheffield
  • Unknown artist, View of Sheffield from Sharrow Moor, c1838 © Museums Sheffield
  • Thomas Creswick, Hillsborough, Sheffield, c19th century © Museums Sheffield
  • Maurice de Sausmarez, Lodge Moor in the Evening, Sheffield, 1941 © the artist's estate
  • Mandy Payne, Paradise Lost © the artist
  • Jonathan Wilkinson, The Egg Box © the artist
  • JMW Turner, View of Sheffield from Derbyshire Lane, 1797 © Guild of St George & Museums Sheffield
  • Jack Kettell, Rebuilding a Blast Furnace, 1964-65 © the artist's estate
  • Henry Rushbury, Snig Hill from Angel Street, 1941 © the artist's estate
  • Derrick Greaves, Sheffield, 1953 © Derrick Greaves, courtesy James Hyman Gallery, London
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