Jacqui Symons – Oakleaf Monoprints

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My name is Jacqui Symons. I am a visual artist and printmaker whose practice focuses on detail and intricacy within our environment and the natural world. My work can take many forms but frequently utilises multiples and repetitions to explore perception and observation of our surroundings and the things that often go unnoticed in our everyday lives.

Repeated processes, methods and techniques communicate ideas and include drawing, printmaking and the use of paper as a sculptural form. Time spent working on something is very important to me as an artist, both in the meaning of the final piece and as a personal process; my work often involves laborious and time-consuming methods to produce a finished piece.

An interest in the natural world, with concerns about climate change and the loss of our natural environment has become an increasing part of my work. Alongside Richard Dawson, I have recently exhibited a body of work that communicates this, including the Dovestone Seed Vault, a ‘doomsday’ collection of seeds from a local nature reserve; The Absence of Nature, a series of chairs highlighting the increased extinction rates of beetles due to climate change and loss of habitat; and The Greatest Hoax Ever Perpetrated, a triptych of terrariums showing dioramas of potential environments of the future.

As part of this body of work, I have been re-visiting my leaf print series. Influenced by nature and the changing seasons, the monoprints reflect the beauty and fragility of the trees and plants that surround us, showcasing the complex patterns and intricate texture of leaves. A single leaf can have a delicacy and sophistication that is typically unobserved amongst the homogenous mass of a forest or even the leaves of just one tree.

Each artwork is unique and original – my technique involves inking and placing each leaf individually, which can mean hours of work with a pair of tweezers and very clean hands! Recently I’ve been exploring different ways and techniques to print, using a hand baren rather than a press, which has allowed me to focus on larger, more dominating pieces of work, which I think is important as it seems to have more impact on the audience.

These particular monoprints convey the magnitude and grace of the Oak whilst also, when shown as a triptych, highlight the remarkable differences between species. In the UK, Oaks provide a habitat for more organisms than any other tree – this includes insects, other invertebrates, lichen, pollinators, birds and mammals.

I originally trained as a graphic designer and illustrator. With brief forays into events management, medical illustration and film, I soon returned to the arts developing both my own practice and also working closely with communities and groups. I live and work on the edge of the Peak District National Park, with easy access into open spaces and the natural environment. My work has been exhibited both in the UK and internationally, most recently in Hong Kong, Beijing and Canada.

Find Jacqui here: www.jacquisymons.co.uk

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