Plant Memory exhibition opens at the Old Town House

Plant Memory exhibition opens at the Old Town House

The latest exhibition in the Old Town House provides a hint of early spring blossom.

Plant Memory, an exhibition of works by artist Victoria Crowe takes inspiration from preserved plant specimens held in a herbarium.

The works took seed from a conversation while Victoria Crowe was painting a portrait of Professor David Ingram of St Catharine's College, Cambridge and talk turned to a new collaborative research concerning the use of living and preserved specimens in Botanic Gardens, Libraries, Museums and Herbaria. Assisted by Professor Ingram, Victoria immersed herself in research, initially working towards a new suite of etchings and a book of mixed media prints.

Her work explores scientific preservation and recording through artistic means, providing a new record of the original material. The exhibit has been displayed at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh, as well as touring through the North of Scotland as part of the Highland Council’s winter exhibition calendar.

Alongside the artworks, the exhibition displays the University of Aberdeen’s own Herbarium specimens and plant fossils. These include some that have been catalogued as part of an on-going project to provide online access to the collection of 120,000 pressed plants and offer insights into the lives of field collectors.

Shona Elliott, exhibition curator, said: “As well as finding Victoria Crowe’s exquisite depictions of pressed plants and plant fossils a joy to view, I also like the way that they help us to see the university’s Herbarium and Geology collections in a new light.”

Also displayed in the Old Town House is the print Real and Imagined World which developed from a painting in Victoria Crowe’s 2010 Festival exhibition, called Hortus Conclusus. In this work the reality of a Northern winter is juxtaposed with images relating to The Garden of Eden. In this original print, specially produced and gifted to the University, elements of images and writing from the Aberdeen Bestiary relating to creation have been incorporated into the mysterious and glowing background. All proceeds from the sale of Real and Imagined World will go to the University's Sixth Century Campaign which supports Aberdeen's pioneering ambition to lead in the development of educational research and to achieve new levels of national and international excellence.

Victoria Crowe said: “The work for Plant Memory was carried out when I was a senior Visiting Scholar at St Catherine's College, Cambridge, with support of The Sir William Gilles research award from the Royal Scottish Academy.

“I am very pleased to be showing this work in Aberdeen and to support the University programme with sales from the print, also on show at this Exhibition.”

The exhibition will be open throughout the rest of February, March and April in the Old Town House, High Street, Old Aberdeen.

Entry is free to the Old Town House which is open from Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm.