'The Big Country', Geraint Evans

Forest scene with a man sat by his tent underneath a biodome

Acrylic on board, 105.5 x 116.5cm, 2005

Artist's statement

It has been argued that true nature, that is, nature free from the dominating presence of mankind, has now been replaced by an artificial nature; that which is consistently influenced and shaped by human intervention. Lisa le Favre argues that 'in re-working nature or, more precisely, in creating landscape, one refers to a model of romantic and mythic nature…Therefore, it is not just depictions of nature that are constructed, but also nature itself.’ Even national parks can be regarded as managed areas of cultivated wilderness with distinct borders and regulations - in some respects an attempt to redefine nature as a commodity or theme park.

Botanic gardens and biospheres are a construct of architypal microclimates, and themselves resemble theme parks, whilst attempting to answer our global warming anxieties and our desire to impose order. 'The Big Country' lies beneath the arching, hexagonal framed roof of one such biosphere. An intrepid hiker in a scouts’ uniform sits before a camp fire, seeking solitary bliss and yet tempering any possible return to a savage state with the comfort of plentiful provisions and a detailed map. He is the archetypal frontiersman who would not look out of place on the set of Michael Crichton’s seminal film ‘Westworld’ (1973).


Geraint Evans was born in Swansea in 1968. He studied at West Glamorgan Institute of Higher Education 1986-87, Manchester Polytechnic 1987-90 and the Royal Academy Schools London 1990-93. He teaches at Wimbledon School of Art London. Group exhibitions include Yes! I am a long way from home Wolverhampton Art Gallery (touring) 2003, Other Times City Gallery Prague 2004 and Fantasy Island Metropole Galleries Folkstone 2006. Solo shows include Where Happiness Happens Chapter Cardiff 2001, Glynn Vivian Swansea 2002 and Back out on that road again…Wilkinson Gallery London 2004. Exhibited in John Moores 19 1995, John Moores 23 2004.