Exhibition - 'Secret Life of Plants' and 'Poeisis', 10th March to 3rd September 20232023
'Secret Life of Plants' and 'Poeisis' are two related exhibitions running simultaneously at Winterbourne House and Garden, University of Birmingham, 10th March to 3rd September 2023.
‘The Secret Life of Plants’ is a colourful and vibrant collection of abstract and semi-abstract paintings and drawings, which are influenced by the living collections at Winterbourne. The original inspiration, however, was music. Stevie Wonder’s 1979 album ‘Journey through the Secret Life of Plants’ was commissioned as the score for a documentary, which explored controversial ideas about the inner life of plants, even suggesting that plants were sentient beings. These paintings and drawings were originally a direct response to this album, from the imagination but reflecting on the colours, energies and forms experienced by flora’.
‘Poiesis’ is a collection of small metal sculptures I began working on in 2013, whilst at Goldsmiths University and also developing art-science projects with the University of Birmingham ‘vibing’ off visits to Winterbourne’s garden. The title ‘Poiesis’ is a Greek word which means the act of making, or bringing something into being that did not exist before. The philosopher Heidegger defines it as ‘the blooming of the blossom, the coming-out of a butterfly from a cocoon, the plummeting of a waterfall when the snow begins to melt… the unfolding of a thing out of itself, as being discloses or gathers from nothing…’
‘The metal sculptures were created organically, spontaneously and without pre-design. They ‘grew’, whilst my mind was focusing on flora - growth of stems, petals, seeds and roots. As an architect I often reflected on form, function and material. Winterbourne House and its history with GKN is the perfect setting for presenting these works - where organic, floral forms meet metal engineering and fabrication.’