This July arts initiative Fronteer – which I co-founded and co-run with artist Sharon Mossbeck – are staging an exhibition at Exchange Place Studios, Sheffield.
The exhibition is entitled Botanicals and features art pertaining to the theme of botanics, all selected by Fronteer. The exhibition showcases an array of artistic disciplines, styles and concepts from artists both across the UK and internationally and is sponsored in-kind by Sheffield-based florist Campbell’s Flowers, who have designed a contemporary floral display within the exhibition.
Not content with devising, organising and curating the exhibition alongside Sharon, I am also exhibiting in it. Moreover, I am using the exhibition as an opportunity to consider a new, unexpected utility for perfumery that lies beyond our preconceptions – that of it’s potential to preserve botanical specimens.
The piece I have made for the exhibition – entitled The Society of Life After Soil – presents 12 fragrances, each of them takes a vulnerable botanical specimen and suspends them in an oil carrier: Preserving them and protecting them from the environmental and humanitarian concerns they are otherwise facing, such as climate change, over-consumption and illegal trade.
My piece seeks to highlight the capacity perfumery has to comment on environmental issues and as such, reveals it’s potential as an artform; in line with the likes of painting and sculpture.
Utilising perfumery in this way is an avenue I have not yet explored as previous perfume making pursuits have revolved around portraiture. Quite apart from the personal nature of portraiture, this piece touches on contemporary environmental concerns and I am keen to take the idea to relevant yet unexplored territories, such as botanical gardens, to see how such a context alters the audiences response to my work.
In the meantime though, Botanicals is open at Exchange Place Studios until 27th July.