Floral artist Rebecca Louise Law uses natural materials to play with the relationship between human beings and nature. She is best known for her interactive large-scale installations of hanging flowers. As well as exhibiting in galleries and museums, Rebecca has created work for fashion brands such as Hermès. For Focus/14 she has been commissioned by Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour to create a spectacular installation in the Centre Dome. Here she talks flowers and how not to over-complicate things.
What drew you to working with flowers as a material for your installations? My first art creations were large-scale abstract oil paintings. I was obsessed with colour and the effect it could have on the viewer. I studied the work of Mark Rothko and loved the immense scale and physical effect his work has when viewed in person. My work always begins with nature, so even when I was painting these colourful expressionist pieces I was looking to flowers as my inspiration. But painting them never felt enough and I wanted the viewer to be more physically connected to colour and nature. The 2D canvas felt restricting and I felt drawn to installation art.
My father is a gardener and my mother has an ancestry of artists, together my parents brought me up to value and study nature. Our attic was filled with drying flowers and I remember being encouraged to draw flowers from a very young age. It felt natural to swap my paints for flowers. I knew that you could retain the colour of a flower through drying and preservation, plus it held so many other complexities that I wanted to experiment with.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to be a bit more creative with flowers? Look at nature for your inspiration and don’t complicate what we have already been given.
What can we expect from your installation at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour for Focus/14? Six thousand preserved and dried blue and mauve flowers contained within the central dome. Viewers will be able to experience the installation from every angle and height.
What inspires and motivates you? I’m inspired by nature and its infinite landscapes. The sea, fields, mountains, rivers, the sky… I’m motivated by the countryside and capturing a tiny glimpse of it for urban environments.
What do you enjoy most about your work? The end result and my team.
What are you most proud of? I recently created an installation commissioned by the OCC in Athens, Greece. It’s my largest installation to exhibit publicly long-term. They trusted my concept of allowing the flowers to dry in the space and for viewers to experience this. I’m proud that people understand my art and enjoy flowers in their second stage, preservation.
What’s next? To keep pushing the boundaries of art with flowers. I have a series of projects before the end of the year in Japan, America & New Zealand. I’ve always dreamt of making an installation at the Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London.
Photograph by Seamus Ryan.