Tracey Bush's ongoing Nine Wild Plants series is a body of work spanning more than ten years that includes drawings, small sculptures, unique bookworks and an editioned artist's book. Drawings from the series have been acquired by the Yale Centre for British Art, CT, USA for their permanent collection, as well as by numerous private collectors.
Bush's work has often dealt with the impact that man makes on the environment and she began Nine Wild Plants after reading ecological thinkers, including Paul Hawken, who notes that the average Western adult can recognise over 1000 brand names or logos, but fewer than ten local, indigenous plants. Posing the question 'Which nine wild plants could you confidently identify?' Bush began emailing a range of people and collecting their responses. Texts from these email exchanges are reproduced in a small artist's book and form the basis of a series of unique, transparent bookworks that include original line drawings of the plants described.
Central to the project is an ongoing series of large-scale, collages drawings including the stinging nettle, buttercup and poppy. These works interweave a theme of lost knowledge with the rigour of scientific specimens. Bush referred to the Herbarium Handbook as well as to her own observed drawings to make templates for hand-drawn plant silhouettes; she then collaged fragments of found materials illustrating sweet packet, cigarette and fizzy drink logos etc. The combination of austere black line drawing with the attention-grabbing colours and type styles of brand names and packaging is compelling.