PERENNIALS AND SEMI-NOMADS; a vocabulary of flowers The most apparent difference between David Powell’s ‘Out There’ series the same lines (although bearing in mind the symbolic superlatives of (2011-2012) and the recent flower series (2012-2013), is the absence of the myths): a man disrespectful in nature is punished by being transformed human figure and the introduction of flowers. The spaces around the into a flower, a ‘lower’ life form. From being an occupant he suddenly flowers have since grown, overgrown, regrouped, they have been becomes part of his environment, his life reduced to the bare essentials: reorganised and rebuilt. The focus has shifted from outdoor urbanised breathing, being. The flowers seem to inhabit the spaces in the work colonies of nature to highly constructed and developed semi-natural with a sense of temporality; living alongside the space, in the space, with environments. The way Powell builds spaces in his paintings, a brick the space, but not in spite of the space. by brick approach, is fundamental to surviving this seemingly drastic The autonomy of the flower has always been a subject of debate Perhaps our perceptions are guilty of hastily drawing conclusions. throughout the course of art history. Not seldom is the flower stigma- In western culture and society it seems everything is rotating around tized as a secondary subject, with the primary focus on (the represen- the human being; environments seem to only exist as backdrops or tation of) human figures. Flowers are classically to be divided into two stages to our lives. When we speak of Gods we assign them human-like categories: those that play main or minor parts in a still life and those features and qualities, like emotions and judgement. But not every that count as decorative material in living and outdoor environments society operates this way. To me, Powell’s work naturally implements inhabited by figures – and are thus to be considered secondary subjects. these foreign-like aspects; it depicts occurences that differ in nature from Very rarely we get to see paintings presenting us flowers that operate our own perception, our own experience of the world we live in, very outside of these historical terms set for them. In his flower paintings, similarly to the way some cultures perceive the world. For them, not the David Powell breaks with all these conventions by showing us flowers as human figure but the environment itself and more specifically nature if they were figures, that is to say: as autonomous objects. They inhabit is of main importance. This same outlook could also be perceived in the spaces in a similar way figures do, as if they were cultivated to behave new flower series: the absence of a figure symbolizes a world outside of as humans do and thus space themselves as humans would space them our own, a heterotopia depicting a society that occurs simultaneaously to in botanical gardens, town plazas or on balconies, but never losing their ours yet occupies exactly the same dimension.
sense of autonomy. The flowers don’t play a secondary role in the work, The mythological story of Narcissus could be interpreted along much

Source: http://davidpowell.nl/ingeswinkels-perennialsandseminomads2013.pdf


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