In recent years Brantwood has opened the door on some of Ruskin’s visionary ways of looking at plants and the way we live with them. The old ‘living laboratory’ of the estate has been brought back to life. We have proceeded without prejudice for one orthodoxy or another, following Ruskin’s own exploratory technique, moving towards things that are life-affirming, balanced and generous in husbandry of the land.
Alex’s time at Brantwood could not have complemented our approach more completely. He has sought to let each plant tell its own story. This sounds deceptively simple. Nothing could, in fact, be more delicate or precise. Alex has developed his handling of the processes of the cyanotype and the chromatograph to a level of refinement that is quite remarkable, creating a pathway into the life of his subjects that releases a voice. What stories they tell!
Ruskin intended in Proserpina to create a new ‘flora’: a work drawn from science but spun into ‘poetry, prophecy and religion’. Looking at Alex’s work these past months, I have felt as if Proserpina - abandoned by Ruskin - had been restarted. Proserpina herself has indeed begun her journey back from that dark underworld into the light.
Director, Brantwood – July 2009