Focusing on issues of natural science and visual systems of knowledge, Liz Orton’s practice is concerned with the analysis of archival materials and the ways in which they function within the realms of botany and taxonomy. Her research into archival systems of classification stands as the basis of a body of work that blurs the boundaries between art and science. This duplicity of interests is visible in her current association with the award-winning Performing Medicine programme as well as her involvement with a series of participatory photography projects and the charity PhotoVoice, alongside her own photographic practice.
Three c-prints from the series Splitters and Lumpers (2012) have been included in the exhibition. Splitters and Lumpers was inspired by the beauty and fragility of the specimens that Orton saw at Kew Gardens’ Herbarium in London. The fascination she felt when witnessing the methods of archival preservation led the artist to produce a photographic series dedicated to the organic specimens still awaiting classification. The cross-section view of these bundles of dried specimens and archival paper underlines the interconnection between systematic knowledge and natural growth. While her entire series will be on loan to Kew Gardens for the rest of the year, the artist has agreed to produce an exclusive additional edition of three prints for the exhibition at heliumcowboy.
Liz Orton (b. 1967, London) is a British artist who lives and works in London. She currently holds a Fellowship at the University of Arts London and she has recently been awarded with a Wellcome Trust Award for a project on medical imaging (2015) and with the MACK photography prize for her body of work A Handful of Soil for the Whole Horizon (2014). She has been widely exhibited both in UK and international art institutions, including The Showroom in A Handful of Soil for the Whole Horizon (2016), the Photographers’ Gallery in FreshFaced+WildEyed (2015), and at the Hereford Photography Festival (2012).