Botany and Metaphor

Prof Doc Thesis

Fauzi, Tetriana Ahmed 2012. Botany and Metaphor. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Arts and Digital Industries
AuthorsFauzi, Tetriana Ahmed
TypeProf Doc Thesis

I started the doctorate program with works depicting fictional plants as a mirror or metaphor for my thoughts and feelings. The plants in the watercolour works on paper are impossible biologically and in terms of the environments in which I place them.
In connection with these artworks I looked at the work of Charles Avery and Marcel Boodthaers, who both put their artwork in a fictional frame of an invented island and an imaginary museum using different methods and media. Charles Avery exhibits drawings, sculpture and text to realize his imaginary island, while Broodthaers uses readymade objects to create his fictional museum. I wanted the plants I make to have the quality that, although they are fiction, they can possibly exist in the mind of the viewer.
Among my methods of working are collecting plants and photographing them in my surrounding area and looking at photographs of plants including Karl Blossfeldt’s magnified images of plant parts. These plant parts reveal anthropomorphic qualities that are very appealing to me. Imaginative perceptions, such as those described by Bataile, also create the fictional characters in my plant works.
It was suggested I look at Georgia O’Keefe’s flower paintings which highlight the reproductive parts of plants because some of my plant drawings alluded to sensuality. From there I also looked at other works concerning the body by female artists such as Dorothea Tanning and Cathy de Monchaux.
I made digital works by grafting watercolour images of plants onto photographs of landscapes, or close up images of buildings. This included making 3D version of the plants using air drying clay and wires and photographing them in specific places.
My plant works took a turn when I visited my parent’s house in Malaysia during summer 2010 and I found decaying plants in a ‘wasteland’ area, visually appealing. I looked at works of Cathy Newell and Lynn Collins concerning decay,
abandoned spaces and burned buildings. I looked at the writing of Justin Crumbaugh who discussed perspective and aesthetics of ruin and decay. I make sculptures of what I called ‘plant-objects’ and photograph them in destroyed landscapes.
When I came back to London, I made two sculptures referring to traditional floral craft. The sculptures resembled body parts, which for me alluded to sensuality. These can be referenced back to the paintings of Dorothea Tanning, and Whitney Chadwick’s analysis of the female body as the object of anxiety or fantasy in the representation of self for female artists.
I also considered metaphor and its relation to the plant world in the traditional Malay context and also other texts that relate to this. I wanted to identify the choices of plants that I draw or sculpt, the rationale behind these choices and their relationship to my own personal metaphors.

KeywordsBotany; Metaphors
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
PrintSep 2012
Publication process dates
Deposited20 Aug 2013
Publisher's version
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