Throughout Autumn 2016, Mason gleaned weeds, herbs, vegetables, flowers and shrubs from around her home in South London. Using these plants, she created her own pigments through a mixture of infusion, distillation and grinding to investigate the imprecise methodologies and unstable results of traditional paint making and alchemy. More importantly, her research provided the impetus for a conceptual landscape comprising of 29 separate paintings each created using these pigments. Presented alongside the paintings, Mason wrote field note texts for each plant which includes the date it was harvested, the edible and medicinal properties of each plant and some of its cultural history. Shown at May Project in 2017. (Editions available).
Do not speak to me of wilderness, imagining silence
A hundred meters from Kennington Station, a beet, earth-scented, plump, ripens in the soil. At Peckham Rye, hawthorns brighten hedgerows with their berries. The streets at Rotherhithe are freighted with sloes. In Camberwell Grove, the camomile have gone to seed.
Honour your city. Observe the bramble-wrapped pylons, the train tracks. Let thorns snag the pad of your thumb and scratch your wrist. Cup the soft- skinned blackberry, ripe and many-pocketed, in your palm. Rub its leaves, lick it, feel its sweetness stain your tongue. Believe in the miracle of a plant out of place. Do not dismiss the weed, but listen as it whispers of ancient Thebes and Babylon. Catch the echoes of a sacred past. Seek its virtues. Let it be, for a moment, numinous.
By Annabel Howard
All images of Landscape by Oskar Proctor.