ALTERED STATES @ Saatchi gallery

Arcadia by Florence Blanchard

Really excited to be part of this exhibition, which is opening this week at Saatchi gallery in London. For this occasion I prepared a few new paintings I’m super pleased with. Please message me if you’d like to attend the private view this Thursday.

Altered States

Altered States showcases works by eight urban contemporary artists based in the UK. The artists featured in Altered States are: D.A.N.T.E., David Shillinglaw, Florence Blanchard, Kid Acne, Lily Mixe, Skeleton Cardboard, Sr.X and Victoria Villasana. The exhibition has been curated by Olly Walker.

By its nature art concerns transition and transformation. Ideas and emotions transform from impulses to physical images. Substances are transformed when rendered on surfaces, liquids become solids and colours merge. Similarly, artists find themselves living within a society that is constantly changing and presenting them with new challenges and opportunities.

The UK is home to a community of diverse artists. Some were borne in the UK and others were drawn to it; but all continue to explore artistic ideas as the nation evolves. Altered States showcases the output of a selection of British-based urban contemporary artists working today.

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Arcadia by Florence Blanchard
ARCADIA 100 x 150cm

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La Grand Arche Paris

Mural Art by Florence Blanchard

This summer I’ll be taking part in 2 interesting exhibitions: Adventures in Modern Abstraction at Stolen Space gallery in London, and This Will Ruin Everything at The Light House in Glasgow.

Last month I went to Paris to paint on the 19th floor of iconic building La Grande Arche. Pretty cool hollow cubic building from the late 80’s which is aligned with Champs Elysée, L’Arc de Triomphe and Le Louvre!DSC_1312_72DSC_1324_72

From wikipedia: ‘A great national design competition was launched in 1982 as the initiative of French president François Mitterrand. Danish architect Johann Otto von Spreckelsen (1929–1987) and Danish engineer Erik Reitzel designed the winning entry to be a late-20th-century version of the Arc de Triomphe: a monument to humanity and humanitarian ideals rather than military victories. La Grande Arche was inaugurated in July 1989, with grand military parades that marked the bicentennial of the French Revolution. It completed the line of monuments that forms the Axe historique running through Paris.’

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TROPICAL MOLECULAR / New Print

Artwork by Florence Blanchard

Now available on B&B’s website

8 colour hand-pulled screenprint
Edition of 15
70 x 70 cm (design 60 x 60 cm)
300gsm uncoated torned/deckled edge Fabriano paper
Signed, numbered and embossed

‘Entirely produced using a strict analog process, this super limited edition is inspired by Florence Blanchard’s enormous FEATURE WALLS mural.’
B&B
Available HERE

Artwork by Florence Blanchard

Biomembrane – Festival Of The Mind 2016

I am delighted to present my newest mural here – a collaboration with CBMNet at the University Of Sheffield, in conjunction with Festival Of The Mind 2016 / Fear of the Unseen: Engineering Good Bacteria.

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The ‘Crossing Biological Membranes Network’ is composed of scientists working to understand the mechanisms by which substances are transported into, within, and out of cells. Their ultimate aim is to produce knowledge which will enable the development of new technologies in the Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy sector (eg: producing biofuels using E coli bacteria).

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My role in this collaboration has been to translate the CBMNet area of work into a large outdoor mural located within the university campus. For this occasion I have presented my interpretation of a detail of a cell membrane as seen under an electron microscope, having undergone a cryofracture. A cryofracture is  a procedure in which the sample is frozen quickly and then  broken with a sharp blow so you are able to study its structure in very close detail – Imagine breaking a bar of chocolate with hazelnuts, this way you can see how hazelnuts are positioned inside the bar…

For an online animation of a biomembrane cryofracture follow this link: http://www.sciencephoto.com/media/530082/view

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There is an incredible amount of information available about the structure & functioning of a biological membrane, and many ways to interpret this artistically. I chose to stick with the basic knowledge that biomembranes are mainly composed of the following molecules: phopholipids, cholesterol, proteins and carbohydrate ramifications (see diagram below), and that at any moment smaller molecules are transiting through it in both directions. All these elements are represented on the final visual.

 

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Above: Diagram of a small portion of cell membrane

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Learning the structure of biological membranes was one of my favourite topics during my PhD because it involved lots of drawing. Typically a biomembrane is made of two thin lipid sheets stuck together with large elements (proteins) inserted through them. In a cell, this molecular ensemble surrounds and prevents the inside of the cell from being in contact with the outside of the cell. This structure is highly dynamic: proteins move within this ‘bilayer’ in 2 dimensions to specific locations when the cell needs it. In order to represent this in an accurate diagram, you need to draw a 3 dimensions structure, which mostly had 2 dimensional capabilities, on a (2 dimensional) piece of paper – woo ha!

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This project was made possible by Festival Of The Mind and BBSRC.  Thank you Jen Vanderhoven from CBMNet for inviting me and Mika Ohtsuki for helping out with the mural. A projection of a short documentary about the project is planned on Sept 19 at Spiegeltent FOTM: Fear of the Unseen: Engineering Good Bacteria

 

Homage to Topsy

Art by Florence Blanchard

On view in the courtyard of Butcher Works in Sheffield UK, Topsy is a new project I’ve just completed.

Topsy was a female elephant born in south east asia around 1875. She met with an unfortunate fate after she was secretly brought into the United Sates to perform with the Forepaugh Circus. Not liking  much her new environment she  gradually gained a reputation as a “bad” elephant and, after killing a spectator in 1902, was sold to Coney Island’s Sea Lion Park.

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Unfortunately things didn’t go better for her in Coney Island. When Sea Lion was leased out at the end of the 1902 season and redeveloped into Luna Park Topsy was involved in several well-publicized incidents, attributed to the actions of either her drunken handler or the park’s new publicity-hungry owners, Frederick Thompson and Elmer Dundy.

Their end-of-the-year plans to hang Topsy at the park in a public spectacle and charge admission were stopped by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The event was cut back to invited guests and press only and Thompson and Dundy agreed to use a more sure method of strangling the elephant with large ropes tied to a steam-powered winch with poison and electrocution planned for good measure. On January 4, 1903 in front of a small crowd of invited reporters and guests Topsy was fed poison, electrocuted, and strangled, the electrocution ultimately killing her. Amongst the press that day was a crew from the Edison Manufacturing movie company who filmed the event. Their film of the electrocution part was released to be viewed in coin-operated kinetoscopes under the title Electrocuting an Elephant.

The story of Topsy fell into obscurity for the next 70 years but has become more prominent in popular culture, partly due to the fact that the film of the event still exists. In popular culture Thompson and Dundy’s killing of Topsy has switched attribution, with claims it was an anti-alternating current demonstration organized by Thomas A. Edison during the War of Currents. Historians point out that Edison was never at Luna Park and the electrocution of Topsy took place 10 years after the War of Currents.

A Special thank you to  Special Steels Group for the sponsor, and ArtFelt for inviting me.

The scultpure will be auctioned later this year to raise funds for Artfelt, the Children’s Hospital art programe, helping children recover in an environment tailored to them. For more info on the project: http://www.herdofsheffield.com/