My work that I exhibited in the just finished july seminar were, 6 images: & the extended artist statement for this is: ‘It’s not the things portrayed in a work which make it beautiful, it is its spirit” Alain De Botton My works draw inspiration from the Renaissance concept ofCabinets of Curiosities which very often embraced elements of Naturalia. These storage places of the weird and wonderful combined unusual or interesting items from dried fish bodies and natural elements to human rarities, often without reference to preconceived categorical boundaries. These Cabinets contained and preserved many species and seeds, where preservation methods included dried, bottled or stuffed. The Cabinets provided opportunities for scientific research and an escapist space for the owner where they could marvel at their collection and pose wider questions about the universe. This current work has been an exploration that has been response driven within the defined framework of preservation of plants in a bottle, while allowing this idea to grow, without having complete control over the end result. This approach was used in the aim of questioning the perceptions and objectivity of the observer – ‘is this a wondrous object newly perceived or a mundane object perceived newly?‘ This evolving process is very much like the life cycle of plants, on which my practice is based;
- I plant an idea
- Nurture that idea
- Then prune and shape the idea
- While allowing it to grow, change and in some cases, even wither.
These images are the result of this evolutionary process and show an alternative dimension of plants. I have responded to spontaneous elements that have evolved within the work (reflection, time, distortion) and through my process of nurturing, and shaping, I have explored each of these elements: Reflection has created an altered view of the plant-world through refraction of light rays both from within the bottle and reflected from its exterior. This has created a world within a world – a conversation between the expected and the unexpected, the real and the perceived. The element of time is central to the Cabinet of Curiosities – a series of objects preserved from one moment. My work also questions our perceptions of the generic life processes of the plant world – a world where the decaying body of the adult plant fertilizes and nourishes its own seed to move forwards through time. In conflict with the normally predetermined & ordered life cycle, my images embrace (and even intensify) the element of distortion. This was a conscious acceptance of change - that most fundamental and uncontrollable of forces which, through the tiniest variation can cause success or failure. In this work I have nurtured these various elements to create unique items of Naturalia; a family of images with their own spirit - my own Cabinet of Curiosities.