An exciting body of new work by artist Sylvie Franquet.

Belgian artist Sylvie Franquet has drawn inspiration from the huge variety of objects collected by the Dukes of Portland, in particular by Margaret Cavendish Bentinck, the second Duchess of Portland. These women collected for the excitement of the acquisition, but also to learn about the world and to understand more about natural history and the sciences that were coming into being.

Franquet also collects, but her materials are found on walks, along seashores, in junk markets and on ebay, and with them she creates a world she can understand better.

She is fascinated by attitudes to gender and nature, and by the similarities in those attitudes. As Bertold Brecht said: “What kind of times are this, when to speak about trees is almost a crime…because it implies silence about so many horrors.”

Franquet, who recognizes the destruction humans have wrought on the world, seeks to reengage with nature through her work. Collecting, sewing, re-collecting… the work in this show explores her relationship with nature, seeking to establish a place for her in it. It is an act of repair: repairing her – and our – relationship with nature. It is an act of re-membering, re-collecting. We despair. We hope. We despair. We hope… But in the end it’s hopeful.

A multimedia collage artist, a re-collector, Franquet’s fine art practice spans needlework, textile and rock sculpture, collage and sewn herbariums. Franquet combines classical imagery with a punk aesthetic and with research into Welbeck’s historic art collection.

Franquet was born in Belgium and studied Arabic and Islamic studies before spending many years travelling throughout the Middle East. She has written widely on middle Eastern Culture and leads tours in the region.

She is a collage artist, a re-collecter. Her fine art practice spans needlework, textile and rock sculpture, collage and sewing herbariums. Often exploring attitudes to gender, Franquet combines classical imagery with a punk aesthetic. This exhibition will span research into herbariums, taxonomy, and imagery from Welbeck’s historic art collection.