A new exhibition curated by researchers from the University of Birmingham to explore the relationships between humans and animals in art from 1750 to 1950 is soon to open at Wolverhampton Art Gallery.

Magic lantern slide

Reframing the Wild launches on 5 July to coincide with the touring exhibition of Wildlife Photographer of the Year, and will be free to the public until 15 September 2019.

The show draws on a diverse range of art objects in the West Midlands, from large-scale paintings to miniature ivory sculptures, snuff boxes to photography, and demonstrates the changing ways in which humans have shaped understandings of the natural world through art. At the same time, it makes the case that animals themselves have contributed towards artworks in important ways.

Dr Kate Nichols, curator of the exhibition and Fellow at the University of Birmingham said: “This is yet another example of a collection of fine arts that have been sat in the shade for too long, and we hope this show will enable visitors to relate to important issues such as extinction in new ways.”

A tiger

Councillor Harman Banger, Cabinet Member for the City of Wolverhampton, said: “It is a great delight to see more of the city’s collection out on display, and support for the Wildlife theme Wolverhampton Art Gallery has over the summer for families.

“The partnership with the University of Birmingham allows visitors from across the West Midlands to understand how we relate to animals, the natural world and issues that affect the two.”

This exhibition has been supported and curated by researchers from Midlands Art Papers (MAP) – a collaborative network and online journal led by the University’s Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies and 11 partner institutions - that explores art and design in public collections across the region.

An exhibition talk with curators Dr Kate Nichols (University of Birmingham) and Dr Samuel Shaw (University of Leicester) will be held at the gallery on 13 July at 2pm. An additional event, led by Dr Sadiah Qureshi (University of Birmingham), which explores histories of extinction will be held on the 27 July, at 2pm.

Midlands Art Papers has supported a number of exhibitions across the West Midlands and has helped to showcase regional art that would have otherwise remained unseen.