20 Apr — 27 Jun 2020
The Picture Room, Newlyn Art Gallery
West Cornwall-based artist William Arnold will exhibit an ongoing body of work that documents – in razor-sharp detail – specimens of flora collected in neglected places, roadsides, industrial sites and business parks in an homage to the pioneers of Victorian botany.
To produce the works in this series, the living specimens are collected, identified, then taken to the darkroom to be projected, enlarged and logged as pure form-study in silver-gelatin. While the process in many ways harkens back to Victorian life-sciences and the work of English botanist and pioneering photographer Anna Atkins, this method of projection, in effect using the specimen as lantern slide, reveals a razor-sharp, almost sculptural detail.
Recorded in this way the flora that we normally walk past in our hedgerows and kerb-sides, or eradicate as weeds, command our full attention. Isolated from their original environment and elevated to a more rarefied status, we are allowed to study the lines and systems of their veins; marvel at the delicacy of their stems and the arrangement of their petals.