Last winter I visited Pripyat, the ghost town closest to the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, where over the past thirty years nature that was destroyed by human hubris and incompetence has grown up to dominate the abandoned man-made structures. The series uses this powerful juxtaposition as a lens to look examine the current relationship between mankind and the natural world. In a time when cities are growing at an unprecedented rate, nuclear tensions are at a post-Cold War high and we are feeling the effects of climate change more every year, these pieces pose questions about what the future holds.
Although created in an intimate scale and presented in a whimsical fashion, using embroidered floral and plant motifs usually pejoratively ascribed to the realms of “decorative art” or “craft”, on closer examination the implications become more sinister. As plants seemingly grow uncontrollably through the buildings and streets, people are either absent from or oblivious to the situation. Viewers are left to wonder about this change in dynamic, what preceded it, and what can prevent it. The resulting works exist in an ambiguous space: a drastic shift has clearly occurred, but nature has fought back and perhaps a new balance has been reached.