In my new work, I’m using end-of-season plants to think about larger processes of death and renewal – specifically the eventual end of the Anthropocene and the beginning of a new epoch.

My process is intuitive, narrative, and cyclical. I start by documenting dying plants and projecting the images onto wood panel. I then use modelling materials to recreate the forms in relief. I use multiple images in each work, layering and merging the forms together to break up the source images and create a kind of visual chaos. Within this, I forage for new images, telling myself stories about what I see and letting those narratives shape the work for a while – then adding more images to disrupt my direction, letting the story fall apart, and starting anew. By the time I start painting, I have a sense of the emotional atmosphere I want the work to carry and I use colour and technique to pull that forward.

The finished works are an extension of my process – highly pareidolic images that can optically transform into many different things. With my focus on the end of the Anthropocene and imagining the world that might succeed us, the reliefs become scrying tools for envisioning diverse, almost multiversal future wildernesses. 

To me, it is comforting, frightening, and useful to consider deep time. It forces me to sit with my own smallness and brevity, and rethink the size of my ego and personal value systems. It also underlines the fragility of the environment, and our total reliance upon it.

Erin Frances Brown