Botanics (brown)
Boyd Webb


Boyd Webb
Botanics (brown)
Production date:
Accession No:
1500 x 1200mm
digital print on Fuji Crystal Archive Paper

Collection Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth. Purchased with funds donated by the TSB Community Trust to the Govett-Brewster Foundation, 2005.

Since the early 1970s, United Kingdom-based New Zealand artist, Boyd Webb, has created work that examines the ecological bond between man and the environment. His earlier tableaux photographs often derived from the unlikely collisions of nature and culture. The Botanics series was inspired by the French symbolist Charles Baudelaire’s poem Les Fleurs du mal (Flowers of Evil) which tells an extended tale of disaster and derangement, and the inexhaustible attraction of the deadly. Since the 1990s, Webb has been making work that signals ecological warnings and uses the allegory of toxicity. Whether depicting deadly looking blood cells clearly made from plasticine and pigment or plastic inflatable toys of animal species, the deliberately artificial looking subjects are substitutes for extinct natural objects. In this series of work, Webb has retouched and photographed silk flowers. He has heightened the artificiality of the blooms by manipulating colour, hence enhancing its perfection beyond nature. By presenting them against a dramatic black background he infuses them with a sense of clinical distance and forced dislocation outside its natural realm. In doing this, Webb is alluding to the exhaustion of nature caused by human destruction.

Boyd Webb produced a series of photographs under the title Botanics for the exhibition Bloom: mutation, toxicity and the sublime at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in 2003.