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Natural:History (a fable of progress) or, ‘oh no, we’ve killed the last unicorn’

Nat-Hist-02So – a belated post about my three-month exhibition at Gallery Oldham, in which Richard Dawson and myself presented a series of works exploring the era of the Anthropocene, questioning humankind’s impact on, and changing relationship with, the natural world from the 19th Century to the present day.

Currently Climate Change caused by Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) presents an extreme threat to life on our planet and this, combined with loss of biodiversity, habitat destruction and pollution were issues explored in this exhibition.

Nat-Hist-01We each presented a series of artworks that, whilst varied in style and technique, all aimed to highlight these themes, and engage people in thinking about and exploring them further.

Nat-Hist-04I aim to do a post (or at least photos) of each of the pieces I created.  However, the works I was most pleased with were:

The Denial Machine (an ode to lying) Or, ‘are 97% of scientists wrong?’ a vending machine that spat out RIDICULOUS quotes from climate change deniers

Splendour awaits in minute proportions (The Dovestone Doomsday Vault) Or, ‘272 seed specimens displayed by colour’ a seedbank of a local beauty spot

The Greatest Hoax Ever Perpetrated (The Drowned World) / (The Death of Grass) / (Earth Abides) a triptych of dioramas with classic science-fiction titles presented as reality from a dystopian future following climate change

Nat-Hist-03We got some great feedback and a rather lovely review from Robbie di Vito at Corridor 8 that says everything we wanted to say about the exhibition far more eloquently than I ever could – it’s here


Oldham Flower Festival 2015

FH-12Last month I was commissioned by Oldham Council to create 12 ‘flower’ installations for Oldham’s 2015 Flower Festival.  Every year, to accompany their gold award winning RHS In Bloom entries, the Council organise a one day festival to celebrate all things floral and this year they wanted to add an extra element – a Flower Trail around Oldham City Centre.

I was asked to work with 12 shops and businesses to create flower-based installations for their windows using objects/materials that relate to each business and with each one featuring a golden flower.  These installations form The Golden Flower Hunt and the public can enter a competition to find all 12 installations and enter a prize draw for recently opened ‘The Entertainer‘ shop in Spindles Town Square Shopping Centre.  Clues and entry forms can be picked up from the Town Centre Office on something street in Oldham.

As the competition is still open I can’t reveal which businesses I worked with but here are the twelve installations.  I collaborated with each business to come up with a concept and design and once everything had been agreed on, had about two days per artwork to get them completed and ready for final installation.

I also worked with a group of local crafters called Threads & Strands and staff and clients from Remploy to create one of the installations – a window-box of large mosaic flowers.

Here’s a selection of the flowers – both photographed in my studio and some in position in the windows – they were surprisingly hard to photograph once installed..!