The relationship between humans and nature is both symbiotic and fraught. In the present era of climate change, scientists and conservationists are scrambling to find solutions to myriad challenges such as resource depletion, ecosystem transformation, overpopulation, and species extinction. As our destruction of the natural world becomes more pervasive, our interactions with wilderness are in turn increasingly restrained, and the experiences we do have with nature often occur in human-made environments. In fact, we are spending more time than ever indoors, even as social science research indicates that a connection to nature is vital to our well-being.
Lucas Foglia (American, b. 1983) is interested in these complexities, and particularly in disputing the notion that people and nature are at odds. He began his project Human Nature (2006–16) in order to probe our relationship to the wilderness, and to explore our fundamental need to commune with nature. With the skills of a seasoned photographer, and often with a touch of humor, he documents leisure activities, exploration, and some of the science behind climate change—often in remote locations. Spurred on by neuroscience research that shows that human beings benefit intellectually, emotionally, and physically when exposed to nature, Foglia photographs scientists busy proving that time in nature helps humans ease negative stresses and improves attention spans.
Throughout his work, Foglia celebrates and probes our synergetic relationship with the natural world. Ultimately his photographs invite us to ponder our inherently animal nature, and to understand our fundamental connection to the earth for health and happiness. As Foglia recommends, “Go outside. It’s good for you.”
The MoCP is supported by Columbia College Chicago, the MoCP Advisory Board, the Museum Council, individuals, and private and corporate foundations. The 2017-2018 exhibition season is generously sponsored by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Efroymson Family Fund, and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.