Intaglio, 56 x 59 cm, 2005
It is only in recent years that I have started to unravel the appeal and influence of the German “Naturfilosofen” in my own art. This philosophy, originally powered by the ideas from Goethe and Kant, views nature as one harmonious whole. Although this idea of harmony is antiquated, its holistic appeal is unmistakable. Nature was also seen as the guide for the ideal form of Beauty. This thinking influenced the Art Nouveau movement, and also the science and illustrations made by Ernst Haeckel, the naturalist who was an early supporter of Darwin’s Evolution theory. Haeckel’s own theories have encountered much criticism, but his countless, beautiful prints of radiolarians and other small sea-life, published in his book “Artforms of Nature”, are still very much loved and celebrated. Haeckel’s prints have inspired my own printmaking practice and also led me to research his ideas in more detail. Haeckel was the first to coin the term “oecologia”, to denote a field of study devoted to how organisms relate to their external world.