Daniel Shipp’s Botanical Enquiry
The second installment of the series, Daniel Shipp’s ‘Botanical Inquiry’ opens in Sydney’s May Space Gallery from May 16th. It’s an ongoing project for Shipp, who collects botanicals to experiment with for his ethereal prints. Painterly flowers and plants appear suspended in almost dystopian-like realms, giving pride of place to flora commonly found in suburban areas.
He was partially inspired by a book, ‘The Temple of Flora’ – a series of Botanical Illustrations commissioned by Robert John Thornton from the late eighteenth century. “I liked the idea of studying everyday plants that I found on the street with the care and staging that you might use for a more exotic subject” he explains.
He worked intensively on the series between commercial photography jobs for six months. Developing just one of these images involves days spent collecting clippings from various neighbourhood nature strips, laneways, parks and vacant blocks. Shipp would then rush them back to the studio to be immersed in water whilst sorting through the plants and experimenting with how they worked with different backgrounds and compositions.
The final images are then printed on Museum Etching paper, a heavyweight, matte watercolour paper that soaks up the saturation in a particular way that he likes, offering charcoal-toned blacks that complement the mood of the work.
Shipp says that the ambiguous point of view of his images is designed to be both unsettling and seductive, challenging the viewer’s perspective of the common plant species or the “weeds” they might walk past every day and ignore.
The exhibition ‘Botanical Inquiry’ opens at May Space on the 16th May 2018.
Credits: Daniel Shipp