SPACE / 宇宙

The age of discovery (Ode to Maria Merian) 2023

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THE AGE OF DISCOVERY (ODE TO MARIA MERIAN) 2023

3D Cyanotype, Handmade Paper, Paper cut Collage
600mm (Frame Diameter) x 30mm (Depth)

Inspiration

This artwork was inspired by Maria Sibylla Merian, a pioneering woman in art, science, and business. 

From an early age Merian was an accomplished painter of flowers and insects and an entomologist, possessing a great ability to move between art and science. Fusing artistic endeavour and nature observation, her fascinating paintings defied Victorian categorisation. They are a fitting monument to such an unusual figure whose life, too, was a blaze of colour making her one of the greatest artist‑naturalists of her time.

Technique

The Age Of Discovery (Ode To Maria Merian) was created by constructing a hand-cut collage using female photographic portraiture and photograms and photographs of flower specimens, silk moths and cocoons.

After coating the handmade paper with light-sensitive chemistry, it is left to dry in a dark room. The large scale negative is then contact printed onto the paper by exposing to daylight (UV rays). The prints are then processed by thoroughly washing in water to remove any unexposed solution. It can then be hung to dry, developing to full density Prussian blue after 24 hours. Once dried the individual butterflies and flowers are cut out and mounted to create the multi-layered paper cut diorama, hand finished with natural pearls.