Interview: Rebecca Louise Law

Rebecca Louise Law is an Installation Artist based in East London, specialising in artworks made with natural materials, namely flora. The physicality and sensuality of her site-specific work plays with the relationship between man and nature. Law is passionate about natural change and preservation, allowing her work to evolve as nature takes its course and offering an alternative concept of beauty.

Notable commissions include ‘The Flower Garden Display’d’, (The Garden Museum, London), ‘The Grecian Garden’ (Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens), ‘Outside In’ (Times Square, New York) and ‘The Beauty of Decay’ (Chandran Gallery, San Francisco). Law’s work has also been exhibited by Bo. Lee Gallery, Broadway Studio & Gallery, and at sites such as the Royal Academy and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

How did you become involved with your installation work? Did you start out drawing or painting at first? Share a little bit of your story with our readers. 

I started installation work whilst studying fine art at Newcastle University, UK. I began my degree with printmaking and painting, but by my fourth year I was only making installations. I always had a fascination with nature and wanted to create an artwork that could portray the natural world how I saw it. Working 2D felt limiting and I always felt like I wanted to create more of a sensory experience. I swapped my paints for flowers in 2003 and I have been experimenting with flowers as a sculptural material ever since. The natural experience is still at the core of my work, and with each new artwork I challenge myself to push this concept further.

How do you come up with your projects? Tell us about your process and inspiration. 

Every installation is about the human interaction with nature. I look at each space and how it is used, what country or culture I am in, the patron, natural symbolism and the history of the surrounding land. Every new space has a story, and I like to research as much as possible. Ultimately the artwork should be a physical experience, and I either like to compliment or work in contrast to its surroundings. I aim towards creating an artwork that transports the viewer into a space that shows a glimpse of the natural world suspended in time. I like to be reminded of all this earth provides us. 

What do you love to do when you are not working? Do you have favorite places to travel? 

I travel internationally with work and I love seeing the world, but it is always to cities and urban spaces. I live in London, so when I do get free time I love going into the countryside to absorb the natural world. Some of my favourite trips have been in the UK. Last year I went to Cornwall and Scotland. It was great to be reminded of what we have here in the UK. 

What has been the most exciting moment in your art career so far? 

I really loved my last exhibition in Denmark. The museum was so idyllic, my work looked like it belonged there. It was great doing an exhibition that showed all aspects of my art practice. The installation was an entwined canopy of every flower and piece of copper that I have ever saved. The collection had so much handiwork and time entwined within it. To see all I had saved and how far I had come in using flowers as a sculptural material excited me for the future.

What would you say to a younger artist who is searching for their niche? What did you wish you knew when you first started?

The best piece of advice I had was at university. A tutor told me to look into my past and childhood; identify who you are and what you want to communicate with the world. Being an artist is lonely, try to wean yourself off affirmation and people pleasing, never concentrate on money, and stay true to your heart.

Tell us about a few events or shows you have planned for the near future. 

I have installations exhibiting in France and California this summer and an exhibition at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery, Kew Gardens, London in October 2017. This show will be an exploration of the flower as a sculptural art material and how it has been used throughout history.