In art school, Rebecca Louise Law imagined painting in the air. While the concepts of many contemporary artists prove incomprehensible, one look at Law’s The Journey makes obvious she’s nailed hers.
Over one million preciously cut and preserved botanicals connected by hand using copper wire and hung floor to ceiling in strands measuring nearly 18-feet newly installed at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens in Jacksonville, Florida create an Impressionist masterpiece in reverse – obscured colors and shapes from a distance, exquisite detail up close. A painting in the air.
Monet’s Water Lilies in three dimensions, allowing visitors to walk through and around the scene.
“The exhibition comes alive when people are in it and interacting with it,” Holly Keris, the Cummer Museum’s J. Wayne & Delores Barr Weaver Chief Curator, said.
“Walk through this, take time, it’s about time, it’s about healing and thinking,” Law said at the media reception for The Journey which has been in storage at the Cummer since February of 2020 awaiting display. “(The artwork) is about our journey as human beings. It’s about our movement and our relationship with nature. This site-specific installation is designed to have the viewer move, and the viewer is the art as well as the flowers.”
Viewers walking through the corridor created by the two parallel lines from which the blooms descend enter the artwork, those on the outside are spectators.
“I really felt passionate about nature being a physical experience, not a 2-D experience, and wanting the viewer to feel like they were in the painting, I feel that this installation, The Journey, really does do that,” Law said.
Roses, thistle, pinecones, seed pods, grasses, bird of paradise. Trained as an oil painter, Law now uses flowers as her paint, arranging them by tones and color and then applying them in layers. Dozens of botanical species connected on strands create an airy, delicate, intricate artistic meadow which hangs from the ceiling instead of growing from the ground.
It’s fuzzy. Fragile. Wispy. Crispy.
Muted. Soft. Contemplative.
Blues, greens, oranges, pinks, purples, golds and greens. The Journey shows both spring and fall.
The Cummer provided 10,000 additional live blooms from its gardens, 25 to 30 volunteers working for 10 days to hand wire the fresh flowers together.
The Cummer flowers were added to Law’s which she’s collected and used in over 50 installations since 2003. She never trashes used flowers. She stores them in safe keeping – boxed in climate-controlled rooms away from bugs and light – for her next project.
This gives The Journey an additional, ecological importance.
“I think the message here, being able to reuse material for nearly 20 years that still has value and beauty, is strong, and I would like it if people can consider our consumption and what we really need as human beings,” Law said.
Conceived and constructed through 2020 and 2021, The Journey also considers COVID-19.
“This artwork needed to be a place where people could remember, and a place where you can process and think about the pain, actually, that I feel a lot have been through and a lot are still going through across the world,” Law said.
Visitors to the Cummer can experience The Journey from July 30 through January 9, 2022.
About Rebecca Louise Law
Based in the Snowdonia National Park in Wales, Law has been commissioned to create installations at the Onassis Cultural Centre in Athens, Chandran Gallery in San Francisco, Kew Royal Botanic Gardens in London and in New York City’s Times Square, among other venues.
Her work has been exhibited at a range of galleries and at major institutions, including the Royal Academy and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
About the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens
For nearly 60 years, the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens has been committed to engaging and inspiring through the arts, gardens, and education. A permanent collection of more than 5,000 objects and historic gardens on a riverfront campus offers nearly 140,000 annual visitors a unique experience on the First Coast.
Nationally recognized education programs serve adults and children of all abilities, and is committed to ensuring that diversity and inclusion are woven into the fabric of the Museum. For further information, including hours, https://www.cummermuseum.org/.Female artistinstallationRebecca Louise Law