Anthophile: May art exhibition in London puts focus on flowers

8. Anthophile botanical art gallery show

London’s Daniel Raphael Gallery will next month host Anthophile, an exhibition curated by Yan Skates featuring the work of 10 artists, all displaying botanical inspired works with topics ranging from Ikebana to ‘Tulip Mania’ and Dutch still life paintings.

From Botticelli’s Primavera and the floral paintings of the Dutch masters to Jeff Koons’ Bouquet of Tulips, artists have used flowers throughout the centuries to employ symbolism. Anthophile brings together 10 artists, both emerging and established, using botanical displays to create their own vanitas, re-examining still life’s associations with mortality, materialism and spirituality or as a tool to add commentary to a range of important contemporary issues.

The exhibition celebrates artists with varied disciplines, in both media and approach. Ranging from sculptor Phoebe Cummings’ temporal and performative clay compositions and Phil Hale’s striking paintings, to the mixed media work of artist Julie Cockburn, who uses found paintings and photographs and embellishes them with the inexpensive and readily available.

8. Anthophile botanical art gallery show 2

This approach is also visible in Gordon Cheung’s psychedelic layered works of spray paint, pastels and stock listings and Tracey Emin’s still life painting on newsprint. Emma Bass’s vivid photographs The Punk (2017) and The Great Floral Crisis (2018) bring a hyper-real explosion of colour, the latter extends the artist’s research into Dutch still life paintings and references the 17th century “Tulip Mania” phenomenon.

Carolina Mizrahi’s new series Ikebana Tropical is influenced by the art of Japanese flower arrangements. Historically used for altars and to welcome ancestral spirits into the home, Ikebana was also a practice that aimed to signify the representation of time and thought. Mizrahi’s resulting images are both transitory and architectural in style.

The exhibition will coincide with the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Chelsea in Bloom and Sketch in Bloom. Church Street, Marylebone, where the gallery is situated, is also the setting for a further showcase of floral displays, through works created collaboratively between well-known London florists and some of Church Street’s notable antiques dealers, such as Sans Pretention, Les Trois Garcons, Nick Jones and Retro Living.

Artists: Emma Bass, Ann Carrington, Gordon Cheung, Phoebe Cummings, Rachel Dein, Philip Hale, Carolina Mizrahi and Rebecca Stevenson. The exhibition also includes selected pieces from the curator’s private collection by Julie Cockburn and Tracey Emin.

8. Anthophile botanical art gallery show 3