Galleries - April 2015

GALLERIES APRIL 2015 49 recent directions of botanical art. Mieko Ishikawa’s works typify the relatively recent incorporation of the European style of botanical art by Asian artists. Among her most iconic images are depictions of Japanese cherry blossoms, which are delicately created with great attention to the design. The works of Rachel Pedder-Smith, on the other hand, demonstrate a push toward abstraction, combining multiple highly detailed images of various species on a single sheet in apparently random, graphic compositions. Different again are the small, single subject paintings of Australian- born Susannah Blaxill. Often set against a dark ground, Blaxill’s bold works combine a modern compositional style with a nod to the past, and perhaps particularly to the 18th century collagist Mary Delany. Botanical art retains a connection to its traditional past, but the works in Sherwood’s collection make it clear that new artists are pushing it in fascinating fresh directions. Today, botanical art occupies a place at the nexus of science and art, life and imagination. On April 23 a new show celebrating botanical art – Work from Botanical Artists in the Collection of Dr Shirley Sherwood OBE: Celebrating 25 Years of her Collection – opens at the Jonathan Cooper Gallery in Chelsea, exploring the recent developments in this distinctive field. In the early days of botanical art (images of flowers in Europe date from late Minoan Crete around 1700 year ago), illustrations of flora were either purely decorative or purely functional, to be used in identifying the ingredients of medicines and remedies. Eventually, these two pursuits converged and in the mid 18th century the practice was standardised under the strictures of the Linnean Society. Despite its scientific standardisation, true botanical art runs a line between fact and fiction. Though botanical artists employ high realism in their works, the aim is not to record a single specimen, but to embody the species as a whole. All the works at the gallery are the product of contemporary hands, demonstrations of the CODA S usannah Blaxill ‘Fig on Black Background, Ficus Carica’, watercolour and gouache over pencil on Schoellershammer paper, 13 x 11cm Work from Botanical Artists in the Collection of Dr Shirley Sherwood OBE Frances Allitt £10,000 PRIZE , Z CALL FOR ENTRIES THE ruth borchard SELF-PORTRAIT PRIZE 2015 CLOSING DATE 29 May 2015 EXHIBITION 9 July – 9 Oct 2015 APPLY ONLINE