Keep on the Grass

Article excerpt

Byline: Penny Fray reports

Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey produce hauntingly beautiful images out of grass for an Aberystwyth Gallery project.

A FIELD floating on an azure-like lake, a blasted oak tree covered in green carpet and a series of photographs projected onto grass canvases.

Artists Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey are renowned for their unique installations, sculptures and photographs - all made from the unlikely source of grass.

You may ask how this is possible? After all, green grass eventually dies and turns white without light, allowing pictorial outlines to disappear. But art's union with science has finally provided a solution to the problem.

Having established an unique partnership with the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (IGER) based in Aberystwyth, Heather and Dan have finally found a form a stay-green grass that produces hauntingly beautiful images that can be dried out and hung without the usual loss of colour.

According to Eve Ropez, curator of the exhibition Why Is Grass Green? presently showing at Aberystwyth's Arts Centre, working with grass isn't a new concept.

Over the last ten years, Heather and Dan have grown grass virtually on every surface, from a Zurich theatre to a blasted oak tree in England, and called it art.

But it was a ladder propped against a grassy wall that inspired the duo to create their current photographic work, which includes an almost Renaissance-like picture of Heather with her baby daughter.

"They took away the item and found the image engraved in yellow coloured grass, " explains Eve.

Inspired by the discovery, Heather and Dan went on to find that young grass when exposed to light in a darkened room could be used like sensitive film to record photographic images in different shades of green. But the pictures soon vanished when the grass died and the colour was lost due to a lack of chlorophyll.

The solution was found when the artists read about the research that was being done at IGER. …