Rebecca Louise Law: Community, a floral representation of northwest Ohio, on view at Toledo Museum of Art June 16, 2018-Jan. 13, 2019
British installation artist Rebecca Louise Law uses flowers and natural materials as her medium to “paint in the air.” The Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) has commissioned this vanguard contemporary artist to design and implement her largest site-specific installation to date exploring the relationship between humanity and nature. Sourcing approximately 150,000 plants and flowers native to the Toledo region and requiring 1,000 volunteer hours of assistance from community members over 15 days, Law will create an immersive environment that will thematically and literally represent northwest Ohio. A proponent of sustainability, Law also plans to reuse flowers from her previous installations around the world for the TMA project.
Curated by TMA Director of Curatorial Affairs Halona Horton-Westbrook, Rebecca Louise Law: Community will be on view exclusively in Toledo from June 16, 2018, through Jan. 13, 2019.
“We hope this installation will offer visitors a sensory experience, evocative of the people and places, natural history and landscapes of northwest Ohio,” said Brian Kennedy, TMA’s Edward Drummond and Florence Scott Libbey director. “Law’s transporting vision wonderfully reflects the spirit and textures of our local and global communities.”
Law uses both dried and fresh flowers in her work, and the process of decay is part of her time-based installations. Inspired by the dried flowers that hung in her attic as a child, Law’s “sculptures” are suspended from above and held together with copper wire.
Drawing on the theme of community, the coordinated volunteer effort will begin in May, with local residents assisting with stringing together garlands of plants and flowers and taking some ownership over the ambitious installation, an aspect of the project that the artist feels passionate about.
“I started out studying printmaking and painting, but I’ve always enjoyed nature. I come from seven generations of artists on my mum’s side, and seven generations of gardeners on my dad’s,” said Law. “My intention was to get others to physically experience a painting. I soon began to realize that color wasn’t what mattered as much; it’s about nature and preservation, processes of life and decay.”
Based in London, Law has been commissioned to create installations at the Onassis Cultural Centre in Athens, Chandran Gallery in San Francisco, Kew Royal Botanic Gardens in London and in New York City’s Times Square, among other venues. Her work has been exhibited at a range of galleries and at major institutions, including the Royal Academy and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
"Law's installations are powerful reminders of the need for us to be present in our everyday life - to stop and observe, to look closely and to appreciate the natural wonder that always surrounds us,” said Norton-Westbrook, who became familiar with the artist's work in the years she spent living in London before moving to Toledo.
Law recently released the book Life in Death, the most comprehensive collection to date of her career and concerns. Documenting Law’s earliest experiments to her most famous installations through evocative photography, the volume also offers a more personal glimpse of the contemporary artist’s life and inspirations. Life in Death will be available in the Museum Store for $35.
Admission to Rebecca Louise Law: Community is free for members and $10 for nonmembers. Discounted tickets are available for seniors, college students, and military personnel ($7) and youth ages 5-17 ($5).
Rebecca Louise Law: Community is sponsored in part by Taylor Cadillac, the Ohio Arts Council and the TMA Ambassadors with additional support from 2018 Exhibition Program Sponsor ProMedica.
Talk: Rebecca Louise Law in Conversation with Halona Norton-Westbrook
June 16: 2 p.m., Peristyle
British artist Rebecca Louise Law discusses her work, including the just completed site-specific installation for TMA called Community, with Director of Curatorial Affairs Halona Norton-Westbrook.
Talk: Black Swamp Conservancy: Rob Krain and Melanie Coulter, Land Stewardship
June 23: 2 p.m., Little Theater
In conjunction with Rebecca Louise Law: Community, the Toledo Museum of Art has invited local organizations to share their work with the cultivated landscapes and natural habitats of Toledo. Special guests from the Black Swamp Conservancy will present a free talk on June 23.
Films in the Great Outdoors: Moonrise Kingdom (2012, 94 minutes)
June 29: 9:15 p.m., TMA Grounds
In this film directed by Wes Anderson, two 12-year-old kids fall in love at a summer camp and run off together into the wilderness, leaving various adults and friends to search for them as a violent storm approaches. Presented in conjunction with Rebecca Louise Law: Community.
Films in the Great Outdoors: Microcosmos (1996, 72 minutes)
July 13: 9:15 p.m., TMA Grounds
In this documentary about insects in meadows and ponds, the subjects may appear tiny to the human eye, but there is no denying that the insect kingdom is as dramatic, action-packed and beautiful as any other.
Talk: Toledo Naturalists Association: Eric Durbin, Toledo’s Secret Garden: Wild Orchids of the Oak Openings
July 14: 2 p.m., Little Theater
In conjunction with Rebecca Louise Law: Community, the Toledo Museum of Art has invited local organizations to share their work with the cultivated landscapes and natural habitats of Toledo. Special guests from the Toledo Naturalists Association will present a free talk on July 14.
Art Book Club Discussion: A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman
July 17: 5:30 p.m.,
Meet in the Art Reference Library Join fellow art and book lovers for a discussion of a vibrant celebration of our ability to smell, sense, taste, hear, touch and see. Writer Diane Ackerman weaves together scientific fact with lore, history and voluptuous description. Also join us for a guided tour on July 19 at 5:30 p.m. where we will explore how we engage our senses through art and the natural world. Limited copies of books are available for Museum members to borrow from the TMA Library and purchase from the Museum Store. The Art Book Club is free, but space is limited, and registration is requested. You must register individually for each event. Contact the library at 419-254-5770 or firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Talk: Ryan P. Walsh, Ph.D., Toledo Zoo’s Wild Toledo Urban Prairie and Butterfly Initiatives
July 21: 2 p.m., Little Theater
In conjunction with Rebecca Louise Law: Community, the Toledo Museum of Art has invited local organizations to share their work with the cultivated landscapes and natural habitats of Toledo. Special guests from the Toledo Zoo will present a free talk on July 21.
Additional programs will take place through the run of the installation. Visit toledomuseum.org for details.