Click here for the article published in Ham and High on Thursday September 30th, 2010

Fragility of nature in the face of environmental change
The enterprising New End Gallery in Hampstead has an exhibition of intriguing botanical paintings by Johanna Freudenberg. They are of a collection of architectural plants, so-called for the drama and scale of their leaf or flower structure. “In situ, light passing around and through them creates planes of colour, and forms become abstracted – what one sees is more than anatomical detail,” comments the Queen’s Park artist and gardener.
The framings of these paintings are photographic collage. They are intended to create contrasts – proximity with distance, luxuriance with scarcity, the richness of tropical colour with the monochromatic palette of a remote vantage point, earthly with celestial.
Often celebrating the splendour of pattern, whether of microscopic cellular structure or of aerial views of mountains, forests, rivers and plains, their intention is often to comment on the impact of environmental change on the natural world.
“The appealing patterns deceive us, as the true images often depict erosion, deforestation, opencast mining or spillage,” says Freudenberg. “To place the specifics of the horticulture we experience at close proximity into the wider context of the natural world as it is – fragile, destructible, despoiled – is to draw attention to its ephemeral essence”.