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'Everything is linked in some manner, like the layers in petals or the lines in maps. Our identity and our culture is an intricate overlapping of many parts. The flower is a symbol of both femininity and cultural heritage. It can represent both a colonial past and a multicultural future. It is these layers I wish to explore.' Bianca Hendicott

Artist Statement

Bianca Hendicott is a multidisciplinary artist and poet who lives in Surrey where she teaches. She has an MA in Fine Art (D) and an Honours Degree in Literature. Her first body of work centred on the ephemeral nature of light in physics and photosynthesis, along with a fascination for the botanical reproductive system.

Her more recent work explores cultural heritage and autobiography through painting (oils and watercolour), textiles, sculpture and illustrated poetry. Key themes address issues such as culture, symbols and the feminine.

There is an overarching focus on colour and form in all her pieces which express dreamlike landscapes and even terrifying nightmares.

 

My research began with an exploration of light and the sublime within the botanical aesthetic but has evolved into something more cultural, representative, and perhaps even autobiographical. Using flowers as symbols and a sign of colonial ‘cultivation’, I am exploring the tense and dynamic relationships across cultures but most specifically in South Africa (where I grew up) and the United Kingdom (some of my ancestral links). I am particularly interested in the diaspora within colonial and post-colonial frameworks and the issues of identity associated with this. I am discovering these cultural tensions and patterns through botanical mapping and symbolism such as the Protea (national flowers) as well as maps, craft and photography. My techniques employ digital design, craft, beading, painting, drawing, film and even installation.

What really struck me about flowers and the Victorian plant hunters, was at the same time as botanical collections of species were being archived and recorded, so too were geographical maps of territories being created and sliced up for colonial empires; classifications of people according to colonial viewpoints and racist tracings as well as the often misguided drawing of territorial borders have led to endless tensions and discrimination. Having a mixed heritage myself, allows me to look for instance at the cultivation of the land, in forms which may appear innocuous, such as the Victorian garden, but clearly have a cultural imprint.

Flowers are also the biological sex organs of the plant and an expression of nature. Flowers are sensual and often fragrant. The flower is fragile, organic and opposed to what is mechanical and artificial. They are signifiers of everything from The Virgin Mary to femininity to death. Flowers bought and sold are even a symbol of the global capitalist garden, masking a superior narrative about globalisation and the blurring of national borders.

My observation of the flower is in many respects still life because I am capturing posed flesh. The iPhone with its microscopic ‘eye’ sends digital images via light sensors and the whole process from eye (artist) to eye (flower) to eye (iPhone lens) to eye (viewer) is a transference of light. Helen Chadwick referred to similar tools in her work as her ‘optical prostheses’. (Ed.Chalmers, G.1996.p13) which in some respects links the feminine aspect of the flowers to something quite scientific, almost medical. The probing lens that inserts itself into the flower centre is akin to invasive vaginal surgical instruments such as the speculum, an emotive appreciation for the botanical memory, the sexualised botanical charge and of course the creative essence of light, both in reproduction and photosynthesis. The flesh-like nature of the flower explores not only the associated metaphors of life and death and the cultural implications of the flower and even its ‘fruit’; but also connotations like the Garden of Eden, Hieronymus Bosch’s ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’, femininity, floriography, funeral or wedding bouquets, romance,  sin, nature, temptation, sexual difference and guilt.

But I am forever newly inspired so I am certain that by the time someone reads this I will be grappling with a new concept for there is so much more to make....

EDUCATION

BA (Hons) English Literature and Fine Art (University of Natal, South Africa 1997)

GTP Teacher Qualification and NQT (Chiltern Training Group, UK 2003-2004)

MA Fine Art (Distinction)

(UCA Farnham, 2018)

EXHIBITIONS/ SHOWS/

MAGAZINES

Linear Gallery (UCA Farnham) 2017

Bargehouse Oxo Tower 2017

Linear Gallery (UCA Farnham) 2018

Lewisham Arthouse 2018 'Granular'

Safehouse Exhibition space 2018

 UCA Farnham MA Grad show 2018

HAUS A REST GALLERY 2021 https://haus-a-rest.squarespace.com/issue-13-opinion-the-uncanny (zine)

ARTISTS RESPONDING TO 2021

https://www.artistsrespondingto.co.uk/zine?pgid=klktsewa-ee3d8699-0a98-4d71-a4ad-3eb77eeffe45 (zine poetry and watercolour paintings)

GALLERY32 2021 http://www.galleryno32.co.uk/press.html

WORK

Artist

Secondary School Teacher (Subjects: English,

Literature, History of Art, Media Studies and Film)

Poet

Contact

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