Invisible Flowers 2017


In 2014 I started working on the Invisible Flowers series named after Italo Calvino’s book Invisible Cities. In the book Marco Polo describes the cities he experienced from his memory. It is hard to tell whether he is building the city around the meaning he experienced or if he is describing the meaning experienced around the physical city he visited. This complex relationship between form and meaning, between the objective and subjective experience, informed the flower portraits of this body of work.

Original Species (2017)
Oil on Cotton Paper, 200x310mm:
The paintings of the first series were about the yearning to meet specific threatened indigenous flowers in the wild which I rarely managed to find, thus the paintings were representations of the imaginings I conjured after reading about and looking at images of rare flowers on the internet.

Wilderness (2017)
Oil on Cotton Paper, 200x310mm:


In Invisible Flowers 2017 I work with the threatened flowers of the Proteaceae plant family endemic to the Western Cape. I continue my exploration of loss of place by focusing mainly on the relationship between the urban and natural. By simply overlaying images of indigenous flowers over urban settings, I try and find answers to questions around extinction and death. Similar to the descriptions of places by Marco Polo in Invisible Cities, the spaces the flowers occupy hover between the real and the imagined.

Late Night Wander (2017)
Oil on Cotton Paper, 200x310mm:


Some of works are titled around a dream I had about a sensual classical palace with a dark Red Room, where I imagine endangered flowers spend their last days. 

The Red Room (2017)
Oil on Cotton Paper, 200x310mm:



The Red Room becomes a destiny for plants identified as being critically endangered or having a ‘red status’.  

Status Red (2017)
Oil on Cotton Paper, 200x310mm:



In my dream I encounter Pan, a very tall thin old man with hooves as feet, in the Red Room.

Waiting For Pan (2017)
Oil on Cotton Paper, 200x310mm:
Other works are titled around imaginings of ghostly presences of indigenous flowers hovering over their former habitats lost through urban development: and thus spectres belonging to wild flowers drift over zebra crossings, walk the streets and wander past shopfronts at night.

Night Walker (2017)
Oil on Cotton Paper, 200x310mm:
Born of Dissolution (2017)
Oil on Cotton Paper, 200x310mm:

The works are created in oil on primed hot pressed cotton paper; a similar paper used in botanical illustration. Oil on paper is a risky choice of materials, since paper with oil applied directly onto it will eventually decay. These works however have been primed with great care to ensure their archival quality. It is this vulnerability of the materials and the sensitivity required to make it work that appealed to me within the context of these dying flowers and our very fragile indigenous environment.

Echoes from the Red Room (2017)
Oil on Cotton Paper, 200x310mm:


Please view my website for more images at www.hanienconradie.co.za 



  


Comments