Since 1983, Isabel Bannerman and her husband, Julian, have been designing gardens; her most famous being The Stumpery at Prince Charles’ Highgrove, the private royal garden of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.
In addition to Bannerman’s incredible garden designs, the artist also creates illuminating, large-scale photographs of plants that explore the architectural and ‘engineered’ aspects of the plant kingdom— so important to her own design process as a garden designer.
In a series entitled, Bordering on Violence, Bannerman takes shears to her subject matter, deconstructing the plants that are so enmeshed with her life. As photographer Johnnie Shand Kydd explains:
It is easy to see why analogies to the world of fashion keep occurring when discussing Isabel’s work. The Magnolia bud on the brink of blossoming has all the seductive glamour of a bolt of shot silk – as Isabel says “it’s pure couture – heavy satin and fur”. But to concentrate on the beauty alone would have been too easy an option for the artist. Instead, just as radical designers such a Rei Kawakubo have done before her, she has taken shears to her subject matter with a passion bordering on violence, set about the deconstruction of the plants that obsess her so compellingly.
It would have been far too easy and, as she readily admits, far too boring just to accept the beauty, she set out purposefully to reject that route, electing to focus instead on what is brutal and concealed. It is the metamorphosis inherent in the cycle of reproduction that fascinates her. In the pictures the fragility of death coexists with rampant growth, a heady disturbing combination. Now she is exploring the processes of desiccation and putrefaction further.
Bannerman’s work is included amongst other artists in an exhibition is called ‘A Celebration of Chelsea’ at London’s Tanner & Lawson gallery from 19th May – 31st May. For a list of available works, click here.
1. Tree Peonie Seed Crown
2. Crepe Paper Poppy
3. Marine Dreams
4. Nerine McQueen
6. Pink Poppy
7. Peony Molly Seeds
8. Pink Poppy IV
9. Peony Pistil
10. Pirate Parrots