Hearts And Minds detail, from the Floracide Series
While it might be said beauty is in the eye of the beholder what interests me, is the way beauty obscures cruelty and brutality. Cut flowers. Dismembered and broken bodies. These are pictures of the process of death. Blooms harvested from vast greenhouses. Like corpses they travel in refrigerated trucks and containers. These carcasses destined for human consumption. We must sustain our aesthetic sensibilities, heal rifts, console the sick and the bereft. We do this by watching them die. We construct beauty in our minds. Our perceptions are the cause of these flowers’ deaths. Their colours and forms seek pollinators, propagation and survival. But we nurture them just to tear the life from them. We mistreat and deform plants, animals and people to conform to an aesthetic called beauty as if it something to be lauded and attained. It is death making. Drawing on traditions of Nature Morte, these invocations of the classic and symbolic operate at a number of indexical levels, not least around the exclusion of a self-representation of disability spoken in its own language and form. They interpret and translate the symbolism of Vanitas paintings into modern symbolic representations of exclusion and otherness. This is an attempt to create a new symbolic lexis around disability and the hierarchy of ability.