Entwined: Plants in Contemporary Painting

Poison Idyll painting by Barbara Howey   Dance for Silk painting by Bryony Benge AbbottProscenium painting by Juliette Losq


18 March to 27 May 2023

Entwined is a major new exhibition featuring leading British painters, including winners of the John Moores and Contemporary British Painting Prize. The paintings in this exhibition invite their viewers to look closely at plants. They do this through the widest of ranges of approaches to paint, the selected painters all delight in our extraordinary vegetive world.

This visual feast explores why painting plants matters now, using approaches from lyrical abstraction through to forensic observation of plants in crisis. How might this deep exploration of plants, through paint, help us understand our place in the world now? What does it mean to understand a locale through an intense study of what is growing close at hand?

Some of the paintings’ beauty belies darker and melancholic attributes, plants as symptom of loss, as metaphor for migration, the legacy of colonialism and as a contemporary take on memento-mori. For this invitation to look slowly and the focus on the specificity and minutiae of plants comes, paradoxically, at a moment of wider global trauma both in terms of the pandemic but also its corollary, global heating and alarming biodiversity loss.

The works in the show work with and against the rich traditions of the many and various aesthetic ways of depicting plants, from botanical illustration, to decoration and design, to a reversal and reworking of ideas of landscape painting as immersive rather than a view, and the focus on the fragility of more-than-human life specifically the endangered nature of plant species, is certainly a memento mori, but not just ours.

Artists in Entwined: Amanda Ansell, Bryony Benge-Abbott, Hannah Brown, Graham Crowley, Sam Douglas, Michele Fletcher, Barbara Howey, Linda Ingham, Juliette Losq, Paula MacArthur, Iain Nicholls, Joe Packer, Julian Perry, Narbi Price, Harvey Taylor, Helen Thomas, Judith Tucker and Joanna Whittle.

Entwined is curated by: Judith Tucker, Barbara Howey and Grant Scanlan

Images: (Top) Barbara Howey , Poison idyll – woodland pool (Middle) Bryony Benge-Abbott, Dance of the silk cotton (Bottom) Juliette Losq, Proscenium

Entwined Events and Workshops

Saturday 15 April to Saturday 22 April
Botanical Engineers: Combining spectacular flower arranging with found industrial artefacts – the botanical engineers will showcase their unique displays accompanying Entwined, throughout the gallery. Free entry.

Saturday 29th April
Earth Family Fun Day: Free artist workshops, talks, demonstrations and performances throughout the day. 10am to 4pm. No need to book.

29 April to 27 May
Wildflower Meadow: A spectacular new installation accompanying Entwined, featuring flowers made by thousands of school pupils from across the region.

Saturday 6 May
Entwined Tree of Life: Step-by-step acrylic painting workshop with artist Wendy Bruce. For info and booking visit: north-lincolnshire-council.arttickets.org.uk

Saturday 13 May
Childrens Wildflower Meadow Watercolour Workshop. Ages 7 to 16. For info and booking visit: north-lincolnshire-council.arttickets.org.uk

Event for Teachers:

Thursday 23 March
Plants, changing environments and living things – CPD workshop. Call 01724 296039 or email artsandheritagelearning@northlincs.gov.uk for details.