The Herbert’s new exhibition combines reality and imagination

For this exhibition, seven artists have collaborated to dream up enchanting new worlds focused around unexpected environments, dreamlike realities and discovery.

Inspired by the museum’s own collection and Coventry, Wonder takes visitors beyond the gallery walls with immersive fun for all ages.

From urban landscapes to reimagined cartoon characters, a light pavilion, and creatures brought to life by augmented reality, be prepared for unexpected and unimaginable wonders.

Wonder is showing at The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry in Gallery 1 until 15 September. Admission is free.

About the Artists

The exhibition focuses on the work on of seven artists.

Antonio Roberts is a new media artist and curator who uses technology-driven processes to explore issues surrounding open source software, free culture and collaborative practices.

For Wonder, he reimagines popular cartoon characters to discuss the sinister side of these childhood fairytales and question the use of IP and copyright laws to control how these stories are told and by whom.

Illustrator, Ben Javens invites visitors to go beyond the gallery wall like Alice through the looking glass. His work incorporates a salon hang from his own pieces and the Herbert’s collection, leading to a life-size diorama installation.

Edie Jo Murray is a neuro-divergent practitioner with an obsession with digital sensory experiences and alternate realities. For Wonder, Edie brings insects and animals from the Herbert’s Natural History collection to life using Augmented Reality technology alongside animations. 

Julia Snowdin creates unexpected and unimaginable spaces for families and friends to come together for a shared experience of play and interaction within Light Pavilion.

The light installation offers moments of magic and calm as patterns and colours spiral in an unexpected and unimaginable space. Captivating and alluring, Light Pavilion is for all audiences to watch, share and enjoy together, and leave with memories.

Lucy McLauchlan’s large-scale monochromatic paintings have covered multi-story buildings across Europe, gigantic billboards in China, windows in Japan, huts in The Gambia, Detroit car parks and abandoned NYC subway tunnels.

Taking imprints of the Herbert and its physical surroundings, she creates a form of documentation using canvases painted beyond the frame edge and public murals in the city.

Davy and Kristin McGuire have created a body of work inspired by the seedy, shady underworld of Film Noir. Characters come alive within a series of intricate, animated, wall-mounted dollhouses. These magical artworks somehow take the viewer back to a child-like state of fascination and awe.

The silent dioramas are made more absorbing when you become aware that the artists themselves play all of the characters. Through a combination of technology and creativity, the delicate fantasies are momentarily brought to life through digital projections and silent storytelling.