Art exhibitions at the Botanic Garden
Throughout the year the Botanic Gardens hosts innovative and exciting exhibitions by artists who have been inspired by the Garden. There is a dedicated exhibition room but depending on the nature of the exhibition, the work may not be confined to this room. More details are available by downloading our artists and artworks policy here.
Forthcoming exhibitions include:
Chloe Fremantle, artist, observes a year at the University of Oxford Botanic Garden.
March 14th to May 12th 2013
Chloe is represented by Jenny Blyth Fine Art
For the past year Chloe Fremantle, contemporary artist, has been observing the Oxford Botanic Gardens. Her paintings inhabit ambivalence, 'visual haikus', suspended between abstraction and figuration. Capturing the essence of the seasons as freshly dug earth transforms to summer flower-filled borders, seedpods, petals, leaves, stems and bark are captured in all their glorious colour and myriad patterns. She combines her depiction of flora with an element of topography to reflect the layout of the gardens, and a backcloth of distinctive sandstone walls. Essentially, Chloe has been exploring flora for thirty years, celebrating nature and the miracle of its unending beauty.
The gallery is open daily during normal Botanic Garden opening hours.
May 17th to July 14th 2013
Michèle Noach has travelled twice to the Arctic with Cape Farewell on art & science expeditions, and again on several research trips. The Far North and its unique Arctic Poppy have captivated and intrigued her, and both were the seeds of her 3-year artist residency at the Eden Project in Cornwall. Here she had privileged access to Eden's great reservoir of botanical expertise and completed her investigations into the Arctic Poppy (Papaver radicatum).
West Greenland and Svalbard (from where Michèle harvested the original seeds) are undergoing a great thaw in snow and ice with rising temperatures. Her idea was to examine the Arctic Poppy's adaptive capabilities in a rapidly warming environment by attempting to grow them in the moderate climate of Cornwall; an intriguing process that lead to a unique collaboration between Michèle as artist and Ian Martin as scientist, in his role as Eden horticulturist and seed specialist of semi-arid and arid regions (the Arctic being classified as a desert due to its lack of precipitation).
Together they grew, researched and observed the poppies over the 3 years. The outcome of this work is a cycle of 7 lenticular (optical 3D) displays, images that morph as the viewer shifts from one position to another. The images reflect what they both saw and learnt about the poppies' progress. Conversations of misunderstandings, hopes for the poppies, disappointing scientific results and a developing friendship between artist and scientist are brought together in the book Poppyflakes, published to coincide with this project, and which is an epistolary study in collaboration.
Michèle Noach developed The Arctic Poppy Chronicles within her artist residency as part of the ‘Slow Art Project’, established by Cape Farewell in collaboration with the Eden Project.
July 7th to End of August
This exhibition takes the form of an outdoor installation of 20 pinhole photographs. The photographs will be placed throughout the Garden much like our plant labels. The images will be accompanied by passages from Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass.
The subject of these pinhole photographs are marionnettes made by the English artist Margaret Littleton Cook(1940s). They explore the characters as representations of psycological states and Alice’s dream of wonderland as a spiritual journey. To come upon images in the garden unexpectedly much like Alice was confronted by characters in the books will give her psychological journey a geographic sense.
The installation considers the qualities of different spaces in the garden and uses the shady places for the darker more mysterious photographs, and more open spaces to echo the images of understanding and clarity. Aligning physical phenomena to metaphor and Carroll’s text, visitors are invited to freshen their own perceptions and experience the Garden with wonder, imagination and curiosity.
July 18th to August 31st
Kate Houghton M.A. started out as a sculptor and it is perhaps this which drives her interest in the structure of plants. She is committed to the role drawing can play in gaining a deeper understanding the natural world.
Over the past few years she has led watercolour painting courses on native flora for the Field Studies Council and at Brantwood, Ruskin’s home in Cumbria.
A Homage to John Ruskin
Liz Sherras-Clark, SBA, SFP
September 5th to October 31st
Elisabeth paints flowers as botanical illustration, flower portraits and silk paintings using the subjects from her own cottage garden in Surrey and Australia. Her knowledge of flowers, enjoyment of colour and freedom of style is evident in the subjects she chooses - a large banana flower with the bloom on it's petals, the spiky form of a huge Peruvian cactus, flamboyant peonies and old fashioned roses.