Uncommon or Garden is a new group art show of being billed as the “alternative Chelsea Flower Show” in Hastings.
The Observer Building celebrates the arrival of spring with an exhibition that explores flora and fauna in myriad forms.
Opening in the same week as Hastings’ famous Jack-in-the Green festival, Uncommon or Garden draws together a group of artists who approach the natural world obliquely. These artists capture the theatre of nature as it teems with life and growth, death and decay. The endless cycle of flourishing and decomposing is observed as the artists visualise the passage of time.
From the quiet, ritualistic introspection of Jim Cooke’s Eddie’s Garlic to the light- bleached, desiccated beauty of Rebecca Louise Law’s floral installations the exhibition examines ideas of change, statis and fleeting moments of beauty.
Many artists have an almost symbiotic relationship with nature; from Brueghel the Elder’s representations of paradise to Monet’s waterlilies it’s almost always a thing of beauty. Uncommon or Garden gathers artists who reflect on and interrogate the glories of nature in more idiosyncratic ways.
Ptolemy Mann weaves the essence of bloom and blossom into abstract textiles that pulse with colour and life. Mister Finch takes us into a wonderland of his own imagining with his oversized but intricately observed insects, and American artist Nancy Blum, exhibiting in the UK for the first time, revels in the graphic possibilities of leaf and petal.
Other featured artists using the language of flowers and plants to create poignant and poetic work are John Blakemore, Jodie Carey, Katya de Grunwald, Lisa Hardy, Kitty Jenkins, Richard Misrach, Hormazd Narielwalla, Yiorgos Nikiteas and Anne Smith.
Curated by writer and editor Beth Smith and photographer and artist Katya de Grunwald, Hastings’ urban answer to a RHS Chelsea flower show brings together an array of work that includes painting, sculpture, woven sculpture, drawing and photography.
The show runs from May 7 to June 6.