SPARK #14: Flora

19 August 2023 / 10-12

SPARK #14 is a fourteenth in person meeting for Greater Manchester/North West-based artists who want to intervene in the trajectory towards climate breakdown, and is an opportunity to meet other artists and to share information and ideas.

Saturday 19th August, 10-12, Gallery Oldham, Greaves Street, Oldham, OL1 1AL
Visit and curator talk: Devotions to the Goddess Flora, an exhibition of new work by Ruth Moilliet.
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Please meet at the exhibition at 10am in gallery 2 for an introduction by artist Ruth Moilliet and a chance to view the exhibition, followed by a talk at 10.30am with Patricia Francis, Natural History Curator and Exhibition Co-ordinator. Patricia, who curated the exhibition, will discuss the Natural History links in the exhibition and how it links to environmental issues, referencing the breadth of the Natural History collection at Gallery Oldham (geology, zoology and botany) and her work with artists.

Ruth has always used plants and nature as inspiration for her work, celebrating their abundance and beauty. With a heightened realisation of how climate change is affecting our environment, in recent years Ruth’s sculptures have taken on a different meaning.

The exhibition’s title comes from a quote used in an essay by a local Victorian botanist Thomas Rogers. He and three others travelled from the local area to the Scottish Highlands to study and collect mountain plant species. A further expedition included the botanist James Nield, who wrote a second essay. These papers, along with accompanying watercolour illustrations were preserved together in a unique and beautifully bound book, Botanical Excursions, Breadalbane and Grampians 1874-1876. The species they collected are adapted to thrive in harsh, cold conditions are now endangered as our climate warms.

Ruth has responded to the plight of these and other endangered plant species from around the world by creating larger-than-life sculptures, made from discarded single use plastics.

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SPARK #14 follows on from Castlefield Gallery’s SUSTAIN programme focussed on low carbon artmaking and from our first thirteen SPARK sessions at Manchester Art Gallery, Rogue, The Birley (Preston), Eccles Friends Meeting House, Manchester Museum, AIR Gallery, Paradise Works, Editional Studio and Cadishead and Little Woolden Moss. The SPARK sessions are intended to help seed a new Greater Manchester/North West-based network of artists working low carbon.

Image credits:

1. Photo credit – Jane Lawson

2. Ruth Moilliet in her studio; photo credit – Carriage Return

3. Work by Ruth Moilliet

4. Patricia Francis, Natural History Curator at Gallery Oldham; photo credit: Ruth Moilliet

5. Work by Ruth Moilliet