This project looks at interpretive nature signage found in Irish parks, wetlands, and nature reserves. Hand-painted by regional wildlife artists the signs show us the animal and plant life living in the surrounding area and display a romantic vision of the natural world, images teeming with wildlife, named and numbered. The weathered and decrepit signs reminded me of Victorian-era illustrations or the frescos at Pompeii.
The attempt to place an order on nature seems to be hard-wired in the human brain. From the earliest cave paintings to Linnaeus’ ambitious attempts to catalogue all of the world’s species, we have sought to make sense of the apparent chaos of the living world, arranging species into hierarchical groups through the prism of human vision. In seeing and naming the living world, we forge some of our deepest relationships with these elusive, wild things.