Cracks in the pavements and the plant life that inhabit them; derelict buildings which nature have taken over, railway bridges and weathered walls with their prevalence of buddleai, all signs of the power of nature over man’s attempts to cover the earth in layers of concrete and tarmac.
What if we could see underneath those layers, what would those root systems look like? Once you start to notice where nature makes its home places like wasteland, roadsides, roundabouts, pavements all become a fascinating source of inspiration.
My interest in derelict places and the ‘trace’ that we leave behind started this particular train of thought- a heightened awareness of the different textures in a road journey, old tarmac, new tarmac, eroded road paint and rusty drains. All of these make for a visual feast on the most ordinary of journeys. Then there’s the pavement- marks made by workmen with spray paint, cracks filled with moss, evidence of where we have been and a wondering about what would remain in the long term future if we no longer existed? Images from abandoned cities in Chernobyl where the trees and plant life have taken over…..
So how to record these ideas? Concrete and casting to record the forms of the plant life, fossilising them almost- after all they are only ‘weeds’. But what if there came a day when even they were extinct?
Once your senses are heightened to noticing the colour and texture around you in everyday settings it is amazing how everything becomes a work of art. In the set of work I have made to explore the theme of nature v concrete I have used colours from man-made surfaces, playground asphalt, road lines, sprayed markings on pavements, weathered paint on walls, plus the black of tarmac, grey of concrete.
I decided to use petri dishes to begin my set of work, liking the links to fossilising or ‘making a sample’ of the plant forms that we disregard, elevating them into importance. Initial ideas were to cast the forms into the surface and apply colour afterwards, but as with all good plans, things changed as the process unfolded.
The resulting set of work has been photographed with the intention that these images will be printed as giclee prints and framed. The work itself will decompose over time and so is not permanent.