Based on the artist review by John Player for the catalogue of the show 14 at Stewart Hall 2012


Alexis Williams

Print   Video   Sculpture   Circus   Mushrooms   Media   Academia   Info Contact

Based on the artist review by John Player for the catalogue of the show 14 at Stewart Hall 2012


Alexis Williams is a multi-disciplinary artist whose diverse work ranges from video and digital printmaking

to botanical sculptures and performance art. Her practice deals with earthly and bodily relations through

complex patterning and networks. The natural world is a major source of inspiration for Williams.

Her recent work has focussed on mushrooms as a central theme to discuss her fundamental belief in

the interconnectivity between living things. She collects wild mushrooms to use their spores as drawing

material and digitally manipulates macro field photographs of collected specimens into vibrant fantastical

images that relate to sacred geometry and meditational imagery. Employing the spore as a kind of sacred

item speaks of concepts relating to creation, destruction and ritual. The sampling in this context feels like

a poetic appropriation of nature’s cyclical states and thresholds.


Her current work is focussed on reflexive directional movement of living things and the innate behaviours

that govern them. She has created a remix of David Attenborough films where images of movement have

been reduced to abstractions and used as a raw material reassembled to depict directional movement

made by not one specific individual but many phenomena together. The project as a whole presents the

artists desire to resist the custom for cultural artifacts to become final products that cannot be further

developed or reworked and our narcissistic tendency to separate human creation from nature. Sifting

through films looking for samples to be used in the project is in essence the same as foraging in the

woods for natural material. She treats nature documentaries as nature themselves.


Heliotrope 2012 is an experiment in exploiting plant behaviour to manipulate its growth as a drawing

practice. The photo shown here is of the piece in its very early stage and shows the tendency of the

plant’s roots to grow toward a food source and so in this case, as the plant is being forced to grow in a 2

dimensional horizontal plane, the stem and leaves are growing toward the light source that was later manipulated to

create unusual growth patterns impossible in nature. The twisted unnatural body that resulted was a testament to

man’s desire to concur and control nature.