Mhairi Maxwell


Botanic Elements (2020)

Currently, the specifics of my practice are the clinical vs the artistic, comparing the language of science to the language of art. I use scientific formations and contexts as a channel through which I can express my artwork and as a consequence of cross contaminating science and art, a new hybrid is born. By amalgamating them, particularly when I choose to display them in different contexts, it highlights and disrupts conventions. My work provides an alternative universe in which the abnormal becomes normal and for me a sense of escapism.

Botanic Elements (2020), is a series of painted paper tiles depicting plants and flowers I have been drawn to during the pandemic as a way of lifting my spirits. Being quarantined made me come to the realisation that connecting with the outside world was extremely important to me, therefore found myself wanting to paint vibrant interpretations of the flora I photographed. I was also inspired by the works of Georgia O’Keefe and Victoria Morton, particularly regarding their colour palettes. I use acrylic, but often oversaturated because I feel that I want my work to be bold and express positivity. My process is also experimental, I find it exciting to mix colours together subconsciously and place them at random because I never know what the result will be.

However, the organisation of the tiles is more considered. I have adopted the periodic table format as it is instantly recognisable as having a scientific connection so using this formation for artistic purpose poses questions about art-science. It also encourages people to be open-minded and accepting of non-conventional situations. I want to continue to question contexts, explore alternative ways of bringing together different cultures and create new ones by collating aspects from existing ones.