St. Christopher’s installation by Rebecca Louise Law/Photo: stchristophersplace.com
Last week in London, British artist Rebecca Louise Law literally turned the flower industry on its head. She suspended 1,200 fresh flowers upside down over the West End’s St. Christopher’s Place. The pop-up display, which was designed to mark the arrival of warmer weather, immersed winter-weary shoppers in a colorful oasis as they drifted head first through the hanging garden.
THE UPSIDE DOWN WORLD OF REBECCA LOUISE LAW
This was just one of many unusual hanging gardens Law has created over the past years both in England and abroad. An installation artist based in East London, she specializes in artworks crafted from natural materials. Her preferred medium is flowers, but not necessarily fresh ones. Law strives through her artwork to portray a flower’s beauty in all stages of its metamorphosis as it passes from a fresh bloom to a natural state of preservation.
‘Meadow’ Installation at 2015 Chelsea Flower Show by Rebecca Louise Law
PROVOKING THOUGHT ON MAN’S RELATIONSHIP WITH NATURE
What makes Law’s creations particularly striking is that most are crafted from flowers in the process of drying. Suspended upside down in the traditional way, the blooms gradually decay over the duration of the exhibit. Allowing nature to take its course adds an interesting time dimension to her installations while presenting an alternative concept of beauty. Law hopes that in displaying flowers in this way she can provoke thought on the relationship man has with nature as it changes over time.
And the process doesn’t end once the installation is dismantled. Law then takes the flowers down and preserves them by encasing them in glass boxes. As the flowers are conserved in their natural oils, they eventually take on a delicate paper-like quality. In most cases, they last indefinitely.
Exhibit flowers preserved in glass case by Rebecca Louise Law
ABOUT REBECCA LOUISE LAW
Law grew up surrounded by flowers in all their natural states. Her father was the head gardener of a National Trust property and her mother was a special-needs teacher. The family loved nature and had a garden of their own from which they sold fruit, vegetables and dried flowers to the surrounding community.
Growing up immersed in nature and its vibrant textures and colors inspired Law to study Fine Art at England’s Newcastle University. From there, she eventually drifted towards installation art, which allowed her to express her love for the natural world in a three dimensional way. Her father supplied her with thousands of fresh flowers for her first suspended installation. Soon after, she began experimenting with how to preserve the short-lived blooms, while looking for a materials that would retain their color and form over a longer period of time.
Rebecca Louise Law for Sotheby’s
NATURE SUSPENDED IN TIME
In 2015, a production company approached Law to do a floral installation for Sotheby’s Old Masters Paintings Sale in July. In keeping with the Old Masters theme, she chose richly-hued hydrangeas, peonies, roses, delphiniums and larkspur to complement the deep tones of the paintings. The finished work featured thousands of flowers suspended both individually and in bunches from the ceilings of the auction house’s New Bond Street entrance and galleries.
Installation for Sotheby’s 2015 Old Master Paintings Sale/ Rebecca Louise Law
Law suspended the flowers by their stalks with their blooms upside down, giving auction-goers the impression of walking headfirst through the garden. As they hung, the flowers gradually became preserved, echoing the floral still lifes in the paintings.
Last year, Law was also invited to do an installation at Viacom’s Time Square headquarters. For the display, she and a team of area volunteers threaded over 16,000 individual flowers onto copper florist wires and hung them in bunches over the building’s entrance and visitors center.
2015 Installation at Viacom, NYC by Rebecca Louise Law
The 14 species represented included thistles, kangaroo paw, ranunculus, peonies, hydrangeas, delphiniums and over 40 varieties of roses. When the exhibit closed last April, Law repurposed the flowers, sending them back to her studio to become the medium for new artworks. Click here to take a virtual tour of the exhibit at Viacom.
Here are just a few more of Law’s unbelievable artworks.
Currently Law is exhibiting at the House of St. Barnabas on Greek Street in Soho. Her composition, entitled ‘Drying’ will be on view until June 2016.
To view more of Law’s incredible works, go to rebeccalouiselaw.com/artworks. Click on above links for video tours of her works.