10 Minutes with Kerry Lemon

10 Minutes with Kerry Lemon

Grounded in research Kerry Lemon creates site-specific work in response to diverse environments. Each piece documents an intensive collaboration with specialists including plant molecular scientists, botanists, archives, collections, ecologists, and historians. She works nationally and internationally, inspired by travel and responding to local plant life, landscape and histories. A love of materials is articulated in a multidisciplinary practice including sculpture, painting, drawing, and collage. Although diverse, these outcomes have common roots; examining and inventing native/invasive plant species to reflect issues of climate change, migration, bio-ethics, and the commonality of womxn and flora. Kerry’s artwork and ideas are commissioned by architects, developers, and luxury brands and she has worked with a range of galleries and museums in both the public and private sectors.

Artist Sketchbook, ACM panels
1.2m x 100m x 3mm – 1200mm x 100000mm x 3mm
Photo credit @joshuamowll

You mostly create site-specific work in response to diverse environments and your practice is of collaborative nature. Can you expand a bit more on your artistic research and interests? 

Yep, sure – I create site-specific work in response to diverse environments. Each piece documents an intensive collaboration with specialists including plant molecular scientists, botanists, archives, collections, ecologists, and historians. I work nationally and internationally, inspired by travel and respond to local plant life, landscape and histories. I love materials and articulate my research in a multidisciplinary practice including sculpture, painting, drawing, and collage. Although diverse, these outcomes have common roots; examining and inventing native/invasive plant species to reflect issues of climate change, migration, bio-ethics, and the commonality of womxn and flora. My artwork and ideas are commissioned by architects, developers, and luxury brands and I have worked with a range of galleries and museums in both the public and private sectors.

What is your preferred medium to work with (if you have one)?

I really don’t have one (life would be much easier if I did!) I love materials and I’m on a constant search to find new materials to articulate my ideas. As I’m not a specialist in any one medium I am hugely reliant on building a team of collaborators to advise and fabricate the works. It has taken many years to develop these relationships and has at times been particularly challenging doing this as a woman.

Chalk Milkwort
Scoutmore, terracotta, steel
900mm x 300mm x 300mm
Photo credit: Barbara Leatham

What has been your biggest but nicest distraction during the pandemic?

Karaoke with my partner (screeching 80’s ballads is deeply medicinal!)

If you could choose to be any other living species in this world, what would it be?

A cat, a deeply spoiled cat that just luxuriates in front of a fire, eats delicious seafood all day long and is constantly petted.

What drives your passion for art?

That’s a great question… I really have no idea why but it is a need. I am completely obsessed with drawing and making things and there is nothing I would rather do. I find it endlessly rewarding, infuriating, challenging, and deeply seductive.

Becky (detail)
Collaged cyanotype with ink drawing
690mm x 390mm

If you could collaborate with any individual, past or present, who would it be? 

Alan Turing – I spent two years as Artist in Residence at Royal Holloway University collaborating with plant scientists to bring my fantastical botanical drawings to life. A conceptual residency rooted in scientific experimentation. Using my drawings as blueprints for the creation of new living organisms. This exciting project was a seductive opportunity to construct new realities to my own designs, it was pivotal and continues to inform and inspire my practice today. Most of the research centered on using Turing’s Reaction-Diffusion model and I would have loved to learn from him.

What are you reading at the moment? 

I’ve just dived into ‘Pandora’s Jar: Women in the Greek Myths’ by Natalie Haynes and it is fabulous.