Think about your favourtie story as a child. Have you ever wanted to go back to that universe and crawl inside? It may not be possible to climb into Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, but Drew Mosley’s solo show A Rebellious Nature is about as close as you can get.
The opening of Mosley’s new collection at Wall Space was a packed house, filling the gallery for a closer look at this new collection of weird woodland wilds. A quick look around the gallery and it’s obvious why. If you were to crawl through the portholes of his intricate resin-encased vignettes, you’d come out into one of his paintings on the other side.
The fascination with the natural world is something Mosley comes by honestly, and it’s clear that he’s keen to pass it on. Books like “Where the Wild Things Are” and the world of Jim Henson feature prominently when he’s listing his influences. Father to a five-month-old son, he’s conscious of teaching empathy with the same mindfulness he’s practicing it. “The same way I feel about sharing nature with my son, my friends’ kids… if you introduce things that have value and should have value to kids, they’re gonna protect it. If you get kids into nature at an early age, they’ll see the value in it and will hopefully be less inclined to be so wasteful. They’ll protect those spaces moving forward” Mosley confirmed.
Birds with bindles, bisons and bears; this collection is populated by strange creatures lit like they’re curled around a campfire. They are depicted in the midst of transition, fleeing, protecting, carrying the world on their backs. Mosley’s diorama’s set in small wooden bowls sprang out of a trip to the Museum of Nature with friends. In pursuit of greater depth and atmosphere, Mosley had been working with resin and layering techniques for some time. It wasn’t until he saw the museum’s dioramas and their concave backgrounds that he realised the bowl form could give that sense of a tiny universe he was after. The bowls are reclaimed, partly for sustainability purposes, but also to bring objects with a history into the work. “Finding all these bowls as discarded or no longer loved – I wanted to reuse these. I have a huge reverence for wood and how much we use it and how much gets wasted” Mosley shared.
I ask about his studio, quiet or noisey? “Both, but it’s a lot of instrumental. Tommy Guerrero” or podcasts about “ancient civilizations, our history, the origin of the species.”
What is he reading? “Terence McKenna, [Food of the] Gods”, a book about our pursuit of knowledge and human evolution.
You get the sense talking to Mosley that he’s trying to understand the whole world at once. He seems troubled and fascinated by our throwaway culture, and conscious as a new parent of the legacy we’re leaving behind. He will spend months on a single painting, meticulously rendering one wonderous sliver of the universe.
This collection is as compelling as it is labour intensive, and it sounds like there’s more to come. Make your way to Wallspace and wander around this magical show and have a sense, albeit breifly, of wonder in our natural world restored.
Drew Mosley’s A Rebellious Nature is on at Wall Space Gallery (358 Richmond Road) from November 4-26.