‘Community’ is an inverted garden designed to be an inviting, enchanting celebration of nature and the connection humanity has to it. At the same time, her work honors the local community. The artwork title, ‘Community’, wasn’t randomly chosen as community is at the heart of the idea of this exhibition, driven by the strong sense of togetherness the artist felt during her visit of the area. “I really wanted the work to be, literally, the hands of Toledo, as well as the material of Toledo, combined with me and my work,” Rebecca Louise Law said.
The artwork features native flora grown and foraged from the local landscape, and was installed with the aid of 1,800 volunteer hours. Flowers were chosen with the aid of local botanists to thematically and literally represent the region.
This immersive body experience brings the visitor into the natural world and invites for contemplation of the changes nature bring within as well as offering a new perception of the beauty of decaying and preserved elements. As Halona Norton-Westbrook, the show curator, said: “A deep respect for nature and an ethos of preservation permeates all of the work that Rebecca Louise Law creates.”
‘Community’ also brings together the local flora from northwest Ohio with over 100,000 pieces of preserved flora used in her other installations from around the world. Behind this is the artist’s choice to repurpose this material. Sustainability is a dominant element of her work and one she has to face at the beginning of her transition from painting to 3D installations that were site and time-specific and could cause and enormous amount of waste. To ensure this wouldn’t happen, Rebecca Louise Law chose flowers because they can last hundreds, if not thousands, of years when properly preserved and encased but still can remind of a painting. “What’s also amazing about flowers, and why we love them, is that we know that they offer a moment that won’t last forever”. There is a beautiful delicacy in her work that reveals the artist’s ability to capture and cherish small beautiful natural objects to create an artwork that can be observed without the pressure of time. ‘Preserving, treasuring, celebrating and sharing the beauty of the earth with the world is what drives me.’
If you want to see more images inspired by this suspended garden element, have a look to this post here.