Always at the heart of Nicola Moss’ art is an honest engagement with environmental awareness, orbiting the ever-relevant question: What is sustainability? Her thoughtfully articulated paintings and paper collages circulate increasing tensions between ‘Nature’ and ‘Culture’ while, at the same time, optimistically positing harmony and symbiosis as a possible pathway for the future. In this way, the works visualise what Michiel Schwarz and Joost Elffers term ‘sustainism’ – a cultural era shaped by a new collective consciousness in which the world is more connected, more localised and more sustainable.
While her practice largely pivots on broader ideas of political, historical and philosophical significance, Moss’ new series responds to more localised, personal feelings of wellbeing encountered when in contact with plants. At a time of travel restrictions, she harnessed inspiration from the ‘humble plant spaces’ around her; community food gardens, parks, nurseries, gardens of national significance, or her own vegetable garden to capture the poetic minutiae of lived moments. Visualised in these tactile vignettes are the quiet breaths inhaled and exhaled as though absorbing the energy of a garden.