Lottie Consalvo 'For All Of The Flowers I Never Saw Grow'
If I planted dozens of bulbs and seeds and never returned, I could imagine that they did grow, all of them, the flowers I never saw grow. Lottie Consalvo's artistic statement for her four-panel work 'For All Of The Flowers I Never Saw Grow' in Dominik Mersch Gallery's summer group show 'The Fall'.
Lottie Consalvo 'For All The Flowers I Never Saw Grow', 2019, four-panel work including signed document, acrylic on canvas, Giclee print on cotton rag, crayon keepsake, all mounted onto panels of Masonite, overall 162 x 410 cm
"If I planted dozens of bulbs and seeds and never returned, I could imagine that they did grow, all of them, the flowers I never saw grow. Never having to acknowledge failure where no growth can come of it. Supposing something as real and true within fiction. Reality is not everything, it is a part of everything. It makes me think of making paintings that are stored in a linen press beyond the artist's living or making a performance where an artist tries to find happiness that no one ever saw.
And so I tried to paint a field of flowers and as I painted I told myself 'I am painting a field of flowers’, and you will probably say ‘it doesn’t look like a field of flowers’ and then I might regret ever showing you.
I have said it before, ‘I didn't have to be there to know what it looked like’.
So my flowers did grow and the Parisian gardeners wondered how a golden poppy grew amongst the purple tulips and a passerby wondered if that single Iris grew in that field of grass from the lost blood of Vincent van Gogh or maybe it wasa pigeons doing or perhaps it was someone searching for happiness."
Lottie Consalvo, ‘Desire: Gardening, The Field, Auvers-sur-Oise, France’ (detail), 2015, Giclee print on cotton rag, mounted onto Masonite, 162 x 72 cm, edition of 3 + 2AP
Here the artist has assembled four elements that look at failure beyond the confines of reality. Here the imaginary holds court.
Firstly, a contract for a year long performance 'Desire' 2015-2016 where Consalvo tried to find happiness, a potentially futile endeavour but one she was committed to in her every waking moment.
Lottie Consalvo, ‘Desire Contract’ (detail), 2015-2016, laser print and felt tip pen on paper, mounted onto Masonite, 162 x 52 cm, edition of 3 + 2AP
Secondly, a painting of a field of flowers. The artist told herself she would paint a field of flowers andthis is what it looked like. A painting of flowers, painted by a female artist. A woman once said to the artist, 'you reject beauty because I am so beautiful, and you can hardly look in the mirror'. Black and white - Maybe it's a field of flowers in the dark. Why is she trying to explain the painting. 'It's like looking at a bed of flowers, you don't tear your hair out over what it means' Jackson Pollock once said. Perhaps she shouldn't have shown you the painting. Perhaps the artist could have just written ‘Here is a painting of a field of flowers’ and then she would never fail you because you would imagine a field of flowers and you can only blame yourself as to what it looked like, evading the artist's failure.
Lottie Consalvo, ‘I Told Myself I Was Painting A Field Of Flowers’, 2019, acrylic on canvas, mounted on Masonite, 162 x 222 cm
Thirdly, a photograph. One desire from the performance ‘Desire’ 2015-2016. The artist wanted to pursue, 'gardening'. The artist was travelling for the first six months of the year long performance, so she decided to garden everywhere she went. This involved a pocket full of bulbs and seeds at all times, planting them in public flowerbeds, at monuments and shrines, in Monet's garden, in vineyards, in fields on the side of the road, at the bottom of a waterfall, in ruins and, pictured here, in the field where Vincent van Gogh allegedly shot himself. Every bulb and seed she planted she never returned to see grow.
Fourthly, a quote from a loved one as he passed her by and handed her a flower doused in glue and crayon. She was reminded of the man with the house in the South of France, he went there most weekends. One day a colleague asked further about his house in the South of France and found that it only existed within the mans imagination. Existing only in the imaginary, it could never disappoint him, it could never fail to exceed his expectations.
Lottie Consalvo, ‘All My Flowers I Never Saw Grow’ (detail), 2019, laser print, flower, felt tip marker and crayon on paper, mounted onto Masonite, 162 x 52 cm