It wouldn't be winter without a blast of cold air, but this Beast from the East is a severe warning of the drastic changes developing in our planet's meteorological system. With reports of the Arctic being warmer than areas of the UK, this latest storm brings the actualities of climate change to our door-step. Wrap up warm and plan for the month ahead: here's a series of projects on view in March which reflect upon humanity's changing rapport with the environment.
Wilderness, 2 February - 6 May, New Art Gallery Walsall
A line-up of UK and internationally-based artists distance themselves from the urban chaos of modern living and re-engage with the natural world through the mediums of painting, drawing, photography and film. Though displayed within a white-cube gallery, scenes of expansive deserts and snowy mountain peaks maintain an element of 'wilderness' - their quiet and meditative qualities enabling the audience to sink into a seemingly far-off place and potentially reconnect with elements that have been neglected in our everyday existence.
With artists: Boyd & Evans, Vija Celmins, Ralph Fleck, Noémie Goudal, Scarlett Hooft Graafland, Esther Johnson, Richard Long, Boomoon, Ben Rivers, Hiraki Sawa, Emma Stibbon.
Mark Dion, Theatre of the Natural World, 14 February - 13 May, Whitechapel London
The American artist and explorer Mark Dion recycles the contents of our 'natural world' into a large-scale, highly theatrical exhibition. References to the synonymous beauty and fragility of life on Earth are made through collections of natural and man-made specimens - all displayed in-line with scientific and archival techniques, and each within a different 'habitat'. The gravity of our clinical relationship with nature is reflected in The Library for the Birds of London, which brings 22 live zebra finches into a man-made aviary, and in The Wonder Workshop, a piece that illuminates humanity's bygone reign over nature through technologically-rendered relics of extinct animals and obsolete instruments.
The Land We Live In, The Land We Left Behind, 20 January - 7 May, Hauser & Wirth, Somerset
Curated by Grizedale Arts Director Adam Sutherland, this vast survey show unites the work of over 100 artists in a bid to decipher the contradictory and changing nature of our relationship to the rural. Projects from the 1500s to the present day are plotted throughout thematically curated rooms: it's a lot to absorb in one viewing as artworks meander their way around various decades and contexts. Paul McCarthy, Carsten Höller, Laure Prouvost, Frank Lloyd Wright, Roni Horn and Mark Wallinger all feature among lesser-known practitioners to collectively reflect upon humanity's fluctuating reliance on and disregard for the land through farming and agriculture.