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Andee Collard's More News About Flowers
Andee Collard, Gwen Evens, Hilary Jack, Sian Macfarlane Ruth Murray, Hannah Wooll
7 June - 6 July 2024

Paradise Works and Division of Labour are pleased to present…
Andee Collard’s More News About Flowers.
7th June – 6th July 2024 / East Philip St, Salford, M37LE
More News About Flowers features the work of Andee Collard, Gwen Evans, Hilary Jack, Sian Macfarlane, Ruth Murray and Hannah Wooll, depictions of flowers in painting, ceramics, works on paper, filmmaking and bronze. 

Andee Collard’s new series of twenty floral still-life machine paintings (2022-2024) and three portraits of Walter Benjamin make up the largest part of the exhibition, each painting is created using digital code and an automated machine assembled and modified by the artist. 

Covenant (2024) Oil on canvas by Gwen Evans shows an outstretched hand, painted in a deathly green parlour, pinch-holding a small thornless rose. Evans works draws the viewer in, as if entering into an agreement, privy to an exchange of some pact disguised as a gift or love-token. Evans’ work is inspired by the earliest paintings from the Italian Renaissance and where, throughout history, botanical references served as symbols of love and passion but also truth or virtue. This painting wrestles with this duality and invites us to view the work as being simultaneously enchanted by the painting’s ‘objectness’ (it’s aura) and the painting’s odd subject matter (the uncanny) This work has been generously loaned to us by a private collector.
Host by Hilary Jack was produced by Castlefield Gallery for The Spinningfields Art Commission awarded to Jack in 2017.  A series of nine bronze cast wild plants, that typically grow in untended urban areas, were installed on street furniture and into the fabric of buildings in Spinningfields, Manchester. An accompanying film by Stephen Illes takes us around the site. Hidden in plain sight, Host highlights the politics of private and public space. The method is lost-wax casting 1:1, a sacrifice of nature, first encased in plaster and then lost, replaced by hot metal. Host has been acquired by Manchester Art Gallery for their collection and can be seen on long term display the main Atrium.
Sian Macfarlane’s film ‘We will meet sooner than two mountains’ 00:11:34:00 is concerned with the experiences of Victorian artist Lily Whaite in the Welsh landscape, re-locating her archival materials, in an encounter between two artists across time.  ‘In a letter from Lily to her father dated December 14, 1903, sent from West Didsbury in Manchester, she speaks of attending a political meeting and in the same paragraph talks of flower arrangements, floral femininity, and political engagement, representative of a time when attitudes regarding women’s position in public life were changing dramatically’1 Working as an artist at the time of Women’s Suffrage, ‘the use of flowers became a recurring motif, Lily’s archive reflecting this Victorian fascination with flowers and their meanings. In her possession was a book titled The Language of Flowers, which contained verse concerning flowers and their meanings, becoming the voice-over in the film We Will Meet Sooner Than Two Mountains:
I wish I were the lily’s leaf   
To fade upon that bosom warm,    
Content to wither pale and brief,
The trophy of thy fairer form
And I the lily be, and thine the rose
And I the lily be, and thine the rose
An amalgam of “The Lily and the Rose” and “The Wish” by Moore.’2
Ruth Murray’s paintings of flowers carry in them the artists’ devotion to luminosity; Arrangements in Blue (2024) and The Last Time I saw Richard (2024) both demonstrate Murray’s virtuosity in the study and effect of light and distance upon the ‘aura’ of the painting. These works have a quiet beauty in mourning or isolation, and a kind of languorous, contemplative aspect loaded with psychological content. They are also studies for Murray’s usual depictions of women alone in nature.
Imprint (2023) by Hannah Wooll is a low relief glazed ceramic and Wishing (2024) work on paper, depicts Wool’s characteristic figures and portraits of women in nature surrounded by flowers. Her research and working materials take thrifted magazines and old botanical book cuttings to be adapted and mixed with inks, acrylic and oil. The book page adaptations have time and distance contained within them, they are dated by the quality of yellowed print, and it’s 1960/70’s chroma. They use scale to create Lilliputian-like scenarios, another reminder of the divide between being human and our unique capability to reproduce nature mechanically. Wooll writes about her work; “I’m Inspired by Technicolor film sets, or starkly lit deliberately contrived and manufactured environments which are oddly dreamlike and static” and in choosing her collage material: “[it] suggests a semi redundant 1970’s style of homemaking and taste, addressing outdated feminine pursuits and domestic crafts.”
The title of the show comes from conversations with Andee Collard and ‘News About Flowers,’ 3 a chapter essay by Walter Benjamin. The essay examines the new and unimaginably modern macrophotographs of flora and fauna from Karl Blossfeldt's (1865–1932) seminal work Urformen der Kunst (Archetypes of Art) (1928). Blossfeldt was a novice to photography and like Collard, Blossfeldt crafted his own ‘machines’, he built his own camera and lenses, allowing him to magnify his subjects many times their natural size, resulting in a strikingly avant-garde, alien-like aesthetic. Benjamin, in bringing us this news of the latest art reproduced by mechanics, chemicals and light, asks, where will the future lead? He turns to Lazio Moholy-Nagy for the last word;  

“Everything is so new here that even the search leads to creative results. Technology is, of course, the pathbreaker here.”4


1 Sian Macfarlane, Finding Lily F. Whaite, Exploring Victorian Women Artists’  / chapter: Language of Flowers p.394-395

2 Sian Macfarlane, Finding Lily F. Whaite, Exploring Victorian Women Artists’ Chapter. poem: Lily F Whaite, Letter to Jane Whaite, December 14 1903, H Clarence Whaite and Lily F. Whaite Papers, HPB3/5 (National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, Wales)

3 The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility, and Other Writings on Media Walter Benjamin
Ed. BY Michael W. Jennings, Brigid Doherty, and Thomas Y. Levin Td by Edmund Ephcott, Rodney Livingstone, Howard Eiland, and Others HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England 2008 / Chapter 27 News about Flowers - Karl Blossfeldt (1865-1932) was a German photographer and art teacher at the Berlin College of Art; he believed that the best human art was modelled on forms pre-existing in nature.

4. Benjamin refers to the Hungarian photographer and painter Laszlo Moholy Nagy (1895-1946). (same chapter above)

Andee Collard a visual artist based in Bolton. He is interested in making art everyday and has several ongoing projects; he made daily drawings for 4 years and has been taking a self portrait everyday for the last 11 years. Andee’s current practice uses CNC machines to make analogue paintings and drawings. His practice is a hybrid approach that combines aspects of painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, design, coding, engineering, writing and education.  Recent exhibitions and residencies include; The Lowry, Art Machines NY Dept and Wigan new space, Castlefield.  Andee co-runs Bolton Contemporary running socially engaged workshops for people with additional access needs.
Gwen Evans (b. 1996, Wales) lives in Liverpool. Her work makes voyeurs of its viewers; ambiguous domestic narratives frame subjects in private states of exchange, isolation, and contemplation. By depicting subjects whose narrative and time period refuse to be fixed the viewer is prevented from knowing their identities. Subjects are often solitary, even in paintings with accompanying figures, they are condemned to remain suspended in their perpetual isolation, whether that’s introspectively disengaged from the other, or physically separated by walls or curtains. These barriers and ambiguous narratives act as conduits for larger themes around contemporary and social anxieties. Gwen draws her inspiration from elements of the uncanny and early Italian renaissance painting. In 2022 she was awarded the Granada Foundation Gallery award after exhibiting in the HOME Open. She graduated with a BA in Fine Art from the Manchester School of Art in 2018. Exhibitions include: Open, The Royal Cambrian Academy, Conwy (2021), Talking Sense, Portico Library, Manchester (2021), Contemporary Young Artist Award, The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle (2020), Wales Contemporary, Waterfront Gallery, Pembrokeshire, (2020), Y Lle Celf, The Senate, Welsh Assembly Building, Cardiff.
Hilary Jack works across a wide range of media in research-based projects, site referential artworks, sculptural installations and interventions. Her work is socially engaged and  comments on socio-political issues such as the politics of place and the impact of human activities on our planet. Her practice has focused on these issues since graduating from Manchester School of Art with an MA Fine Art in 2003. On graduating Hilary was selected for TIPP a collaborative Post Post-Graduate Residential Diploma with Goldsmith College London and The Academy of Fine Art Budapest, Hungary. Hilary has exhibited across the UK and Internationally and her work is in a number of private and public collections including recent acquisitions for The Government Art Collection and Manchester Art Gallery.
Sian Macfarlane is an artist working with photography, video, performance and archive.  Her work concerns hidden histories, folk lore customs and beliefs, and the rituals found within domestic spaces, activating these archival elements through the exploration of synchronicity, building new relationships between the historic and the now.  She has exhibited at the New Art Gallery Walsall, Photofusion Brixton, and performed in multiple festivals such as Supersonic Festival Birmingham and Hunters Moon Festival Leitrim. She performs live under the name SWLLWS.
Ruth Murray graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2008, and was the Derek Hill Scholar at the British School at Rome. Her notable exhibitions include Northern Stars at the A Foundation, Saatchi’s 4 New Sensations, The Creative Cities Collection at the Barbican and the BP Portrait Award. She was awarded an Elizabeth Greenshields grant in 2021, she won the Jackson’s Painting Prize in 2020 and she was shortlisted for the Contemporary British Painting Prize in 2019. Her work is in both private and public collections worldwide, including UNESCO’s Creative Cities Collection, and the Whitaker Museum. Ruth has exhibited widely in Europe and the UK, with recent solo exhibitions including: Holding Time (w. Linda Hemmersbach) at Rogue Project Space, Manchester, 2023; Black Pond at The Old School Gallery, Alnmouth, 2022; Everything is Green at The Whitaker Museum, Rossendale, 2022; The Green Ray at Bankley Gallery, Manchester, 2021; Good Morning Midnight, Elysium Gallery, 2019.
Hannah Wooll studied at Norwich School Of Art (1995-96), Manchester Metropolitan University (1997-2000) where she gained a 1st Class Degree in Fine Art, Painting; and The Royal Academy Schools (2000-03) where she received the May Cristea Award for Fine Art for her final show. Shows include: Solo Show Interior World, Paper Gallery Manchester, (2018)Solo Show Natural Habitat, The 12 Gallery, London, (2010); Solo show, Contemplating Life and Stuff, Comme Ca, Manchester (2007). Selected group exhibitions include: The Future Is Female, CODA , The Netherlands, (2020), The GM Arts Prize, Bolton Museum, (2019), The Functionality Of Thought, Dean Clough, Halifax, (2015); Portfolio North West, The Bluecoat, Liverpool, (2013); Polemically Small, Torrance Art Museum, California, (2011); Beyond Fontanna, Studio 1:1 Gallery, London, (2010,) Jerwood Drawing Prize (2009) and (2010), Jerwood Space, London and tours; The Future Can Wait, Truman Brewery, London, (2007); New London Kicks, Wooster Projects New York, (2005). Wooll currently lives and works in the North West of England.


Division of Labour
c/o Paradise Works
Irwell House, Salford, M3 7LE

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