Natural Selection

2010

lawn, linen, cedar
504H x 504W x 120mmD

Series: Grass Work

Against a 'beauty framework' proposed by Prof. Denis Dutton (extending Darwin's theories on natural and sexual selection, Dutton The Art Instinct, Oxford 2009), Natural Selection explores the artwork's literal and metaphoric quest for survival. Revealing materials, process and interior, Natural Selection shows art in the act of evolution. A 'new media' object, the composition mimics 'painting', references art heirachies, and crosses cultural borders. Precise, cultivated art media (lawn, linen, cedar) transform performative land art into archival fine art. A kiln-dried Canadian cedar stretcher offers the 'ideal' frame – with the longest life. Berge linen, the finest Belgian linen (also known as lawn), a 'superior' substrate, is most suitable for history painting. The Australian couch grass used presides at the top of the grass-chain – invading and dominating other species. Suspended in a dormant state, the artwork teases with the prospect of being revived – reproduced, as desired. Both dry and sensual, Natural Selection tempts viewers to touch and explore, contests art conventions and rules for public space, and prompts art keepers to install signs, like 'Keep off the Grass', to preserve the status quo.