FLOWERS: Rebecca Louise Law
How floral sculptures open the door to the “third place”
WORDS BY AMELIA JOHANSSEN | TYWYN | MATERIALS
JUN 21, 2023 | ISSUE 12
Rebecca Louise Law - by Fabio Affuso.
Rebecca Louise Law is a British visionary whose captivating floral installations blur the boundaries between art and reality, offering an immersive experience unlike any other. "Painting in the air," as she describes it, allows her creations to transcend traditional mediums, where flowers replace pigments, and open space becomes her canvas. With installations spread all over the world, and comprising over a million preserved flowers, Law’s work serves as a gateway to a deeper understanding of our relationship with the natural world, provoking us to question the fragility of this bond and our responsibility to protect it.
Yet, Law's artistry goes beyond aesthetics; it echoes the urgent call of our times─the imminent climate crisis. How do we find harmony between the stillness of introspection encouraged by gallery spaces, and the urgent need to address climate change head-on? It is amidst this urgency that Law's perspective emerges to emphasise the transformative power of time spent in nature, and the significance of community connections. This meditation culminates for Law in the concept of the "third place", that leisurely space beyond the confines of home and work, where communities are strengthened. Galleries, in that sense, are prime real estate for establishing a third place, and Law’s installations bring this concept to vivid life by engaging the most immersive medium of all: nature.
www.rebeccalouiselaw.com | @rebeccalouiselaw
From Life in Death Rebecca Law - Solo Exhibition Bo.Lee Gallery - Photo by Jeff Eden.
From Community - Solo Exhibition Toldeo Museum of Art
Dust Pile Solo Exhibition Bo.Lee Gallery
sM | Did you begin as a florist that evolved into a visual artist, or the other way around?
RLL ── I studied Fine Art and began my practice as a painter but the discovery of installation art allowed me to explore the boundaries of painting outside of the canvas. I like to think of my work as ‘painting in the air’ where the viewer can enter into the painting, swapping my paints with flowers and my canvas with the space. I made my first installation with flowers in 2003 and I have been learning about my medium ever since. Working with natural materials has allowed me to explore the fragility of our human relationship with nature. I have tried to preserve every flower that I have sculpted with since I began my practice.
sM | Though your art plays with temporality, it also responds to a time-sensitive threat: the climate crisis. What is your approach to mediating between the value of stillness and leisure on one hand, and the immediate action that climate change calls for on the other hand?
RLL ── I believe that you can implement change by shifting core values. Putting time into our resources and our relationships is key. Each installation I make looks at the value of all nature, including us. Being with what the Earth provides and being together is time spent valuing life. The stillness of the artworks I make allow the viewer time to observe nature. Often a connection to nature can enrich and evoke energy to take action. The climate urgency can only be tackled if we slow down consumerism. Consumerism can only slow down if we are content, and we can only feel content when we feel we have enough. Create with what we have, grow, recycle, adapt, and fix. Know your neighbours, spend time with your community and fill in the gaps, meet the needs of those who cannot. Stand up for those that cannot.
THE THIRD PLACE
sM | What role does the “third place” — that leisurely space outside of home and work — play in strengthening community?
RLL ── The ‘third place’ is a privilege. If you are lucky enough to have it, use your time wisely. Look after yourself otherwise you cannot look after others. I personally think it is important to spend time in nature and connect to nature. I also think it is vitally important to know your neighbours even if it means you need to have patience and agree to disagree. So much time is spent on a screen today and this is not great for our souls. Talking to a neighbour regularly can lead to accountability and responsibility. It is in doing this that we can strengthen communities because despite differing beliefs.