Stephanie Marks

“Unwanted” (2014)

“What is a weed?

…a weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”

(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

A weed is a plant that is considered undesirable, unattractive or troublesome, and grows especially where it is not wanted. Being human means we tend to only value things if they have obvious use. My current series of watercolours, Unwanted, proposes ideas of classification and categorisation, through the process of collecting and visually documenting weeds together as unwanted things. This encourages a space for viewers to intimately engage and reflect on the overlooked and humble beauty that is a weed.

This approach to taxonomy follows Michel Foucault’s ideas from his text The Order of Things (1966) where he discusses the heterotopia as an alternative space and order for things to exist beyond the categories that have previously been imposed. This series of paintings challenges the scientific order that has been enforced on nature, seeking to create an alternative utopian space that attempts to ‘tame the wild profusion of existing things’ as suggested by Foucault.





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