Jodie Careyâ€™s elaborate sprays of faded foliage have, at first, an elegiac look, like bouquets for an event long forgotten. Their colours are wan and blanched, enacting the theme of lifeâ€™s transience that underpins the floral still life tradition of artists like van Huysum and van Os. The sense of transience is carried through in their material, too: composed of, and named after, daily newspapers (The Daily Mail â€“ Arrangement One,
and so on), Careyâ€™s works embody timeâ€™s passing.
But examine her method of colouring these shreds of thin paper and the themes become more complex. Carey stains the paper with a variety of liquids â€“ tea, coffee, even blood â€“ and by doing so pulls the work into an intimate and unsettling sphere. The domestic inference of the tea and coffee seems to evoke deathâ€™s presence in daily life, and to play out the artistâ€™s stated aim to explore â€œhow we choose to deal, both publicly and privately, with the death of a loved one.â€
Death, here, has entered the realm of chat around the breakfast table. The blood suggests something darker: evoking the suffering body, it nods to the reality of illness and bodily decay, running as a counterpoint to the flowersâ€™ elision of the actuality of the end of life. Text by Ben Street