Horsetail Equisetum
Project info

'Horsetail Equisetum' was commissioned by Gollifer Langston Architects for City and Islington College, London. Printed and installed by Genesis Imaging. http://genesisimaging.co.uk/clients/fleur-olby/

I started this composition as a repetition of five images, then three, eight and finally seven... A scale played out. While repetition produces rhythm, the intention of the cropped frame is to capture a movement, a sensitivity that passes through nature to humans. I work on the border of abstraction where detailed information exists, yet when viewed either multiplied at distance or in close-up my arrangement becomes its pattern, inviting the viewer to look at the variations of departures from the vertical.

The single 4/5" image diminished the scale of the plant 3 x. This installation now magnifies the original image 17 x.

I was drawn to the Barred Horsetail plant because of its resemblance and connection to another species of the genus Equisetum, which I'd known from childhood as puzzlegrass, whose segmented structure could be pulled apart and reconstructed.

At one hundred million years this family - a living fossil - has existed alongside human evolution, varying in size from a small plant to a 30-metre tree. It has an indomitable spirit reappearing where least expected.

In this work, the first I've made at this scale, the installation replicates the enlarged gaze of myself as a child, a time when the intrigue of looking generates its sensibility and order. Through magnification, the echoing pattern of the plant from small to large readdresses our placement within nature.