Botanique, a series of artist bookwork’s and prints part of an ongoing body of work that explore Stewart’s long fascination with utopian architecture, the early history of photography and notions of archiving and collecting.
Stewart has been photographing and researching Victorian conservatories as utopian architectures not only for their formal attributes of construction but also as sites that position and re-position the natural world. While they stand as museums, monuments, and theatres nature under goes a process of displacement, diminution and transplantation, lodging the glass structures in our collective memory as a replacement for Eden. Echo Utopias is a bound collection of hand printed photo-lithography prints utilizing Stewart’s many photographs and research as source material.
Botanique, is an artist book based on a small found book of early 19th century botany. The original was found in a bin of discarded books and ephemera in Mirepoix, France, June 2018 while Stewart was participating in a masterclass in pinhole photography and alternative photography methods such as cyanotype. The little French book captured Stewart’s imagination and she decided to copy each page using cyanotype, the blue print process. This was a nod to Anna Atkins, a 19th century English botanist and pioneer of early photography, a master of cyanotype who created and published British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions, 1843, an archive of photograms of algae. This collection is now thought to be the first book of photography. Using Stewart’s cyanotype pages Botanique, was then rebound in the original binding.
The final artist book in the exhibition is Stewart’s cloud atlas. Once again Stewart mines her collection of photographs this time of clouds. She began the collection in 2004 and continues to build on this folio. These images were reproduced in a large format as diazo prints, a 20th century blueprint process and like maps are folded and then bound
6.5" x 5.5"