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21ST CENTURY HERBAL

2023.4.3-2023.6.11

This exhibition brings together paintings on silk, three-dimensional forms, animations and drawings made in the last three years that reflect on the power of the natural world and experiences of living in flux and transformation. Emma Talbot makes work that is about processing what it means to be alive, to think, to feel, and to notice the world in which we live. Her work is rooted in personal experience and fact, but often presents alternate realities or suggests ways to live differently.

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Emma Talbot, 21st Century   Herbal, 2022, Acrylic on silk, Overall dimensions variable, Courtesy of the artist

Emma Talbot, 21st Century   Herbal, 2022, Acrylic on silk, Overall dimensions variable, Courtesy of the artist

The central work in the exhibition, 21st Century Herbal, presents a figure experiencing the effects of eleven plants on her body while written text explains the magical or medicinal properties of those plants, and how they may help or harm us. Rosemary slows Alzheimers and dementia, while stinkweed is a toxic plant that produces amnesia and confusion.  Across fourteen panels, Talbot takes us on a journey through nature of discovery full of truth, wisdom and hope, revealing that humans and the natural world are deeply connected and plants may be the key to our survival. 

Talbot is a storyteller with a distinctive painterly language that combines colourful, swirling lines and patterns, direct text, and a female figure who explores and navigates imagined landscapes and worlds. The figure in Talbot’s work faceless, acting as both an avatar of Talbot and a surrogate for ourselves. The imagery in Talbot’s work is direct and hand-drawn on silk, relating to her inner landscape of personal thought and emotional responses to subjects ranging from technological advancement and grief, to nature and aging. 

The central work in the exhibition, 21st Century Herbal, presents a figure experiencing the effects of eleven plants on her body while written text explains the magical or medicinal properties of those plants, and how they may help or harm us. Rosemary slows Alzheimers and dementia, while stinkweed is a toxic plant that produces amnesia and confusion.  Across fourteen panels, Talbot takes us on a journey through nature of discovery full of truth, wisdom and hope, revealing that humans and the natural world are deeply connected and plants may be the key to our survival. 

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Emma Talbot, 21st Century Herbal, 2022, Acrylic on silk, Overall dimensions variable, Courtesy of the artist

Emma Talbot, Floral hangings, 2022, Acrylic on silk, Overall dimensions variable, Courtesy of the artist

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Emma Talbot, 21st Century Herbal, 2022, Acrylic on silk, Overall dimensions variable, Courtesy of the artist

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