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I can’t tell you how much I love a house full of flowers. Parrot tulips and peonies are perennial favorites. As a result, I’ve got a lifetime’s collection of vases and vessels. I sometimes keep the flowers way longer than I should…to make sure I get every possible second of pleasure from them.  So I was very interested in artist Dena Ashbolt‘s question… So when do you throw the flowers out?

Late last year, she became deeply interested in the ‘life cycle’ of a vase of flowers- from bright young brilliance to withered lifelessness. What’s evolved from that is a whole body of work including a dvd, photographs (that absolutely pop and zing off the canvas) and drawings (some of which found their way onto Jane Annois nude raku pots).

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The ideas began to form when Dena was drawing a vase of flowers over several days.  After the initial drawings, she would come back to the work a day later to find that the flowers had drooped or dropped and changed position. She bravely rubbed out the previous day’s work and started again over the top. This process drew Dena’s attention to what happens to a vase of flowers over a period of time.  She saw it as a perfect metaphor for her own aging as well as a perfect vehicle for ‘drawing time’.

Some stills from the DVD…

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This body of work, is currently being exhibited at the Alcaston Gallery in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy until 1st June (sorry, you’ll have to be mighty quick to catch this one).   There are two rooms of the limited edition photographs. The first room shows the flowers in full bloom while the second shows them past their prime, as they began to drop and wither.   I found the second room the most captivating, which probably says more about my age and stage in life than I should be admitting here publicly. Thank you so much Dena, for pointing out the great beauty to be found at all of life’s stages, via this very very engaging exhibition.

Dena was the winner of the 2009 Nillumbik Prize and a finalist in the Rick Amor Drawing Prize in 2010.  She featured on Isiiad last year during her 6 week residency at Montsalvat.

STOP PRESS!  As I wrote this I heard the news that Dena’s DVD for this series of work was shortlisted for this year’s Nillumbik Prize.  The shortlisted entries will be exhibited in the Barn at Montsalvat from 14th June to 12th August with the winner being announced on the 14th June.

All work in this post is ¬©Dena Ashbolt.  All photographs in this post are courtesy of the artist.