Art: Edward Chell renders motorway plants in glorious silhouette paintings

9 July 2013

For you and I, motorways are merely the most efficient way of getting from A to B, perhaps enlivened by a great CD or a particularly memorable snack. But others see something else – something important, and beautiful and even inspirational. Take Black Box Recorder, who did a song called The English Motorway System. Or take Edward Chell, an artist whose fascination with transition and peripheries has long informed his practice.

Eclipse is a series of 60 silhouette paintings of plants and weeds that has evolved from Soft Estate_, a previous project focused on the ecosystems of motorway sidings. They are currently on show at the The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge in Canterbury, which says of the work: "Eclipse foregrounds contrasting tensions between the rational, scientific impulse to record and classify the natural world according to Linnaean rules, and the fragile, fugitive, ever-shifting eco systems on which our existence depends. A sense of joyous encounter with the natural world is imbued with the bitter sweet, elegiac quality of 18th Century silhouette portraits of loved ones.

Eclipse is on show until September 8.


Edward Chell: Bindweed (Convolvulus Arvenis)


Edward Chell: Bramble or Blackberry (Rubus Frusticosus)


Edward Chell: Creeping Buttercup (Ranunculus Repens)


Edward Chell: Feverfew (Tanacetum Parthenium)


Edward Chell: Gorse (Furze Ulex Europaues)


Edward Chell: Foxglove (Digitalis Purpurea)

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About the Author

Rob Alderson

Rob joined It’s Nice That as Online Editor in July 2011 before becoming Editor-in-Chief and working across all editorial projects including, Printed Pages, Here and Nicer Tuesdays. Rob left It’s Nice That in June 2015.

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