Tracey Bush

Tracey Bush

For many years Tracey Bush made scrapbooks, collections of ephemera that could not be thrown away. The use of scraps is a way of recycling both materials and images in a process of reconstruction. These books have now emerged as Lepidoptera; butterflies and moths, ancient symbols of transformation. Each moth or butterfly is hand-cut from layers of recycled papers and then sewn together using a bookbinders pamphlet stitch. They are then pinned out in entomological boxes. Butterflies are cut from envelopes postmarked from around Britain or from vintage maps of the British Isles. There are quirky links between the butterfly name and the material used. Their poetic names are hand-written in brown ink on tiny scientific labels. Butterflies are amongst the first indicators of environmental change; these collections hope to highlight their frailty and diversity, as an alternative to a collection of actual specimens.

“It has been estimated that the average Western adult can recognise a thousand brand names and logos, but less than ten wild plants.”

Tracey’s Nine Wild Plants project started from the quote above. Drawing on a culture of collecting, three-dimensional flowers are presented in taxidermy cases. Recycled paper packaging used to make these playful constructions was picked up from London’s streets. Bright colours and anthropomorphic cartoon characters belie a barbed investigation of the deeply embedded brand-awareness within our culture. The plants used as specimen types were collected in the London area. Some might be considered weeds and are often overlooked. Nine wild plants combines the precision of carefully observed botanical constructions, with the overblown excesses of consumerism.

Tracey lives in the UK and her works are included in collections such as The Tate Gallery Library , The British Library (Handling Collection), The Museum of London, The British Land Company and The Yale Centre for British Art, amongst others.