Exploring my lifelong interests in the natural world and science, I create collections of vegetable monstrosities and otherworldly specimens within my ongoing art project, Xeno Botanica. Approaching the botanical hybrids as if I am encountering them for the first time, I carefully document them adopting methods of Botanical and Scientific Illustration in a fantastical approach to field study. How do we classify these specimens; are they plant, mineral, animal? My drawings lie within the spaces between scientific study and science fiction.
I present a precarious nature through the botanical hybrids that I create. Certain forms within these specimens appear to be familiar animals, plants and insects, yet they have mutated into strange, impossible hybrids. Detailed drawings and studies of the specimens, or sculptural traces left by the creatures that formed them that are reminiscent of nests and cocoons, and artefacts created from natural materials such as clay, plant matter, pressed flowers, and butterfly wings.
Through my work I think about the symbiotic and parasitic relationships between organisms found in nature with specimens that appear to be a result of scientific experimentation gone wrong; as if they have been grafted together in a rogue taxidermist’s workshop. A grotesque evolutionary strain of alien flora and fauna, their otherworldly appearances are deceiving while being discovered within an early environment.
Xeno Botanica is both an art and research-based project, with the research I gather to inform my artwork being a process that I also enjoy alongside the creation of my work. It is a way for me to consider how little we really know about the natural world.