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.