Alice McCabe is a multi-media artist who works with flowers for a living, creating floral installations, paintings and performances often with foraged and found materials of an ephemeral nature. Underpinning her work is a love of misunderstanding and humour, gleaned from a keen interest in Dada. An optimistic nihilist her work is designed to help the viewer reconstrue – and find space for – colourful protest within everyday life. Integral to her practice as a floral artist is to create both sustainable and conceptual designs drawing attention via flowers and their meanings to point to other contexts alongside their beauty.
“Blind Horizon or Bookmark found in The Word for World is Forest” is a large hanging work composed of mesh, Venetian blind slats, dried dahlias, Swiss milk bottle tops and small squares of mirror. The starting point for this work was trying to envisage the loss to our collective imagination via mass extinction, which, being completely unable to visualise and slightly overwhelmed by a sense of earnestness, initiated a turn to natural world references and symbolism.
The cut- out blind form is inspired by an ocean sunset and the sense of the sun’s rays hitting the water. Two maquettes of the work (made from re-purposed diary and see – through ribbon) are attached to the piece that went through many different forms. These included a double or reversed sunset, which look like an i and ! next to each other, which felt like a fitting reference to our view and use of the planet.
Whilst the title Blind Horizon is self explanatory the second part is developed from a dystopian book by sci-fi writer Ursula Le Guin “The Word for World is Forest.” In this book an aggressive team of men abuse a local race of creatures to harvest natural materials for use on the frazzled and irreparable earth. In the introduction she talks about love vs power and the difficulties of making a work that feels preachy; offering courage via creative complexity when an urgent message must be addressed.
The milk bottle tops here are displayed in series – one complete line of species on the left and remaining doubles from the series on the right. The second series is also mirrored this way, but more gaps emerge as they must be rarer. In this way the collection of milk bottle tops attached try to articulate some of this potential loss and place of choice we sit at now in light of the Climate and Ecological Crisis.
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