Nine Wild Plants
Tracey Bush’s solo exhibition Nine Wild Plants (2006) was Arts Council funded and was reviewed in Garageland magazine, published by Transition Gallery. The project was described by Emma Hill in a recent article for Printmaking Today magazine:
Tracey Bush's Nine Wild Plants involved over a year of research and making and has resulted in a body of work that includes drawings, small sculptures, unique bookworks and an editioned artist's book. Her exhibition at Craft Central at the end of 2006 revealed both the way she went about collecting data towards the project and showed a group of original works that were highly assured in their layering of concept, material and references. Two collaged drawings from the show were recently acquired by the Yale Centre for British Art, CT, USA for their permanent collection. 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 exhibition was a series of nine, 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.