Lulu Guinness




It’s probably the first shape we drew, and with every artist from Hokusai to Van Gogh jumping on board, Mother Nature’s most prized masterpiece is doubtlessly also her most counterfeited. But since artists moved away from representation, unsurprisingly we’ve seen less of the bushy-faced beauties. Pretty flowers don’t work so well for angsty conceptualists, except for Warhol who managed to pull them off with his fluoro daisies. ‘I always notice flowers’, he drawled. Contemporary artist Georgia O’Keeffe hasn’t been so forthcoming, despite having flowers to thank for her propulsion into fame. She claims to hate the things, and only paints them because, ‘they’re cheaper than models and they don’t move’. Poor flowers. On every roundabout, gift card and petrol station, too often sprinkled in glitter, their image is bordering on the banal.

 

We don’t sup up their smell, beauty and complexity like ‘Velvet’ Brueghel or Claude Monet. Rebecca Louise Law, artist-come-florist extraordinaire has set out to change this under-appreciation. In great swathes of thousands of flowers, her installations are paradoxical in their beauty and decay, and in the power of their vastness against their delicate fragility. No longer the background beautifier, the hanging flowers are the main event, and have even stolen the show at the Royal Opera House. Instead of grappling with conceptual substance or attempting to recreate a flower’s beauty in another medium, she has reinstated nature’s original masterpiece in a contemporary context, all the more beautiful for its dwindling and drooping.

 


Image credits: Marcelo Monreal - Ann Carrington - SixLee x Ernesto Artillo - Jose Ignacio Romussi