Otherworldly. Whimsical. Breathtaking. These are just some of the words that first come to mind upon seeing British artist Rebecca Louise Law’s enormous and immersive floral installations, which are composed of thousands — sometimes upwards of a million — flowers strung together with copper wire.
Law didn’t always sculpt with flowers. She started as a painter, but felt constrained by the two-dimensional nature of her craft. Her paintings were inspired by the natural world, but she didn’t feel the medium allowed her to truly bring viewers into the experience with her. As she puts it, she “wanted to paint the air.”
When she began experimenting with suspending different materials, she found that the colors, structure, history, and fragility of flowers were just what she had been looking for. “They held time, place, and survival,” she wrote me by email. “The viewer when entering the artwork would be walking into a 3D painting and physically experiencing an essence of nature.”
Law has been working with flowers ever since, installing site-specific artworks across the world. There’s Florilegium, which explores the themes of healing, natural materials, and community in a church in Parma, Italy. There’s Banquet, installed in a Medieval-era home in France, which evokes the experience of sitting at a feast. There’s The Womb at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which invites viewers to walk amidst nearly a million flowers and reflect on the deep connection between nature and humankind. “At the moment we are failing to look after the earth and each other,” she says. “My work is about using what we already have in order to awaken and protect our connection to this earth.”
Composing installations of this scale is not a one-woman task. Local volunteers play an essential role, stringing and hanging flowers to help Law realize her vision. As a result, Law often finds herself bringing together diverse community members, which she describes as “a beautiful and humbling part of the process.”
More Online: See more of Law’s work at rebeccalouiselaw.com
Law’s works also reflects on our human tendency towards overconsumption. Since 2003, she’s collected every flower and every remnant of flower dust that she’s used, amassing a collection of more than a million flowers that she reuses time and again in new works. Along with these dried specimens, she often incorporates fresh flowers into new pieces, sourcing them either from her own garden, a small family farm in Normandy, or local growers in the city where she’s working.
“I love adding value to the flower,” she says. “Ever since I started using flowers as my art material I have never understood why we throw them away… As an artist I believe we need to slow down our system, slow down consuming, and put time back into creating with things we already have.”
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