Artisan goes under the microscope with Mary Pritchard this November. Mary's exhibition is based on archival material relating to her mother, Olive Elizabeth Aykroyd, and is a homage to what she gave and taught her. Mary puts her mother's early life 'Under the Microscope'.
Olive was born in Dublin, Ireland over a 100 years ago and was exceptional in many ways. She went to Trinity College Dublin in the 1930's and obtained a PhD in Zoology at a time when it was unusual for women to pursue a scientific career. Her research contributed to the expansion of the subject at that time. However, after she married and had a family she did not return to her research.
Mary grew up knowing little about her mother's life prior to her birth (as is often the case with children). Olive passed away over twenty years ago so Mary no longer has the opportunity to ask questions. She inherited her mother's old brass microscope and laboratory slides and has always found them intriguing. Mary has been researching her mother's early life and has gathered together all her original published scientific papers, photo albums, letters and drawings. It has been a revelation, a journey of discovery and at times an emotional experience to put her mother's life under the microscope.
Mary has found her mother's original laboratory slides from the 1930s a rich source of inspiration and for this exhibition she has re-interpreted them and re-presented them in a variety of ways - using both old and new technology. From cyanotypes (a very early form of photography) to reprinting the slides of insect larva onto huge pieces of tracing paper, to manipulating the images in Photoshop to produce a homage to Andy Warhol, to decorating ceramic tiles with the slide images, Mary has breathed new life into these tiny, old objects, which have a strange beauty of their own.
In terms of work inspired by the archive, Mary has been using her camera as a kind of microscope focusing in on details of plants to magnify them and appreciate their beauty and complexity. Mary inherited a love of nature, an interest in Science and her artistic side from her mother.
The show will also be partly historical as it will feature an installation of the archive material including all the slides, microscope, photos, drawings, and published papers relating to Olive to give context to the exhibition.