Following the first iteration of the exhibition at Huddersfield Art Gallery, Entwined: plants in Contemporary Painting tours to 20-21 Visual Arts in Scunthorpe:
Exhibition dates: 18 March to 27 May 2023
Opening times: Tuesday to Saturday 10am-4pm
“The paintings in this exhibition invite their viewers to look closely at plants. They do this through the widest of ranges of approaches to paint, the selected painters all delight in our extraordinary vegetive world. This visual feast explores why painting plants matters now, using approaches from lyrical abstraction through to forensic observation of plants in crisis. How might this deep exploration of plants, through paint, help us understand our place in the world now? What does it mean to understand a locale through an intense study of what is growing close at hand? Of course, there is a provocation to slow down, to give attention to detail and specificity in all the works. This reflects our renewed relation with nature: those places we have come to value so much, where we go to catch our breath and connect to the more-than-human-world. Some of the paintings’ beauty belies darker and melancholic attributes, plants as symptom of loss, as metaphor for migration, the legacy of colonialism and as a contemporary take on memento-mori. For this invitation to look slowly and the focus on the specificity and minutiae of plants comes, paradoxically, at a moment of wider global trauma both in terms of the pandemic but also its corollary, global heating and alarming biodiversity loss.
The visual conversation that this exhibition engenders, with its focus on the up-close world of plants will be in dialogue with earlier scientific, aesthetic and design representations of plants. The works in the show work with and against the rich traditions of the many and various aesthetic traditions of depicting plants, from botanical illustration, to decoration and design, to a reversal and reworking of ideas of landscape painting as immersive rather than a view, and the focus on the fragility of more-than-human life specifically the endangered nature of plant species, is certainly a memento mori, but not just ours.”
Entwined is curated by: Judith Tucker, Barbara Howey and Grant Scanlan