Window Takeover: Joni Smith - Rare Abundance

Highlighting the plight of the endangered fen orchid in juxtaposition with the common poppy.

Rare Abundance (2020): Recently, events have allowed me and many others the time to walk further afield than usual. It affords us the opportunity to slow down and absorb the beauty of the natural world.

During my walks I have been captivated by the vibrant colours of the brush and broom of Mousehold Heath; the poppies emerging in the hedgerows, the bluebells and hydrangeas in Whitlingham Woods. I was instinctively drawn to the poppy for this project. It was the first flower I can remember playing with as a child with it’s crumpled, almost paper-like petals. And that was even before I researched to find out that it is - in fact - Norfolk’s county flower!

The installation is called 'Rare Abundance’. The work aims to highlight the plight of the endangered fen orchid (Liparis loeselii) in juxtaposition with the common poppy (Papaver rhoeas). ‘Rare Abundance’ features multiple paper poppies cut by machine and a singular fen orchid cut by hand.

Within each flower’s form, exists its mapped location. Hanging back to back, the petals form a Rorschach-like effect which simultaneously obscures the map and highlights the plants natural symmetry.

Joni Smith is a paper and installation artist working in Norwich.

Smith augments and re-imagines the perceptual mapping out of a landscape on paper, playfully using collage and cutting techniques to create new associations between different locations. Smith asks her viewers to re-evaluate our positions as we enter a new technological era, where the idea of a ‘map’ is being reworked. Through her labour intensive process - as each piece takes shape - it is clear to see one world breaking down as another parallel one emerges. Smith creates systems and rules to adhere to and plays with the relationship between artist and machine. Her work explores the decoding of information and the idea of it’s seemingly chaotic reconstruction.

Impeccably handcrafted, Smith’s work encompasses drawing, paper cutting and folding, pyrography, painting and installation.