Michele Brodys work includes installation, sculpture/mixed media, works on paper, photography and public art. The reason for looking at her work is for her use of living plants within her work, which relates very strongly to what I have been doing. An article from Sculpture magazine describes her as an ‘environmentalist/artist committed to community work and sustainable art that incorporates seeds and living plants into simple but elegantly constructed installations’. It continues later on- ‘She works with living nature. This is key to her methodology, whereby nature is not represented but incorporated as living media into the composition’.
Many of her works include the use of grass, wheat or flax seeds, which germinate and visibly grow quite quickly making it feasible to see change over the course of a fairly modest timescale. My willow works change over a much slower time, and this had occurred to me, about how you might make the process visible. I do have a whole set of photos taken over the growing period last year, but I still need to work out a way to do this. It is of interest too to see how much of her work she takes out of the gallery- it is site specific, and some is performative in a way, interacting with the public.
From a link on her site to greenmuseum, I found an essay ‘The Alchemical Garden by Amy Lipton’, considering the ways artist have traditional connected with nature and charts the way contemporary artists are making this very real physical connection with nature. She says, ‘these artists are involved in a re-engagement with nature that goes beyond representation to an active participation with the life cycles of nature. Connected to but revolutionizing the landscape tradition, these are works without an horizon which are not concerned with viewing nature from afar but rather engaging with it directly. These works embody a broader concept of art in its relationship to nature, one which is informed but not limited by science, history and critical discourse.’
I find thinking about these ideas thought provoking. I think about the environment and the increasing demands being made on it, and very likely these will increase, then I think of an art world of objects, products, consumer led- something has to change. The idea of a sustainable art appeals to me, the idea that I can engage with it directly and be creative, whilst remaining sensitive to the space. People have said to me, ‘but it won’t last!’, or ‘it will take so long’, and ‘why are you doing that?’- I quite like that it provokes these responses.