Oculus Gallery and artist Giles Revell are pleased to announce the donation of “War Poppy 1”, Revell’s 2015 artwork, to the Los Angeles British Consulate. The artwork will take place of prominence in the office of the recently–instated British Consul General, Michael Howells. The work will also be considered for acquisition by the United Kingdom Government Art Program which displays artwork in British Government buildings around the world, promoting British art and culture.
The installation coincides with Remembrance Day, also informally known as Poppy Day, a memorial day observed in Commonwealth of Nations member states since the end of the First World War to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty.
On June 21, 2016 Revell’s image Battlefield Poppy debuted as a Royal Mail 1st-class stamp, as part of a limited-edition series commemorating World War I. The image depicts a sole, pristine poppy standing against a bleak and murky landscape reminiscent of a warzone.
Completed after Battlefield Poppy, Revell continues his fascination with flower symbolism to create War Poppies, a unique series examining a more intricate exploration of war using a different scale and more expansive canvas. In War Poppy 3, the red of the poppy bleeds from the petals into the landscape, offering a thought provoking ambiguity and powerful detail too small to capture on a 35 x 35mm stamp.
In War Poppies, Revell personifies the flower showing us its fragility and resilience amidst the chaos and fear of the battlefield. Revell brings these associations to the already symbolically steeped flower. Of particular importance to the British, the poppy is a symbol of remembrance for members of armed forces who have died in the line of duty. Often called the “remembrance poppy,” the flower rose to symbolic prominence shortly after WWI and the publication of “In Flanders Fields,” a poem by Canadian doctor John McCrae. The poem noted the poppies that frequently grew by the thousands in the war-ravaged fields of Europe where little else could grow. Today the poppy is perhaps most closely associated with Remembrance Day, a holiday observed each November by states belonging to the Commonwealth of Nations.
Revell’s methodology for War Poppies had him create each scene by injecting pigments of varying viscosity through catheters into a water-filled tank. The resulting clouds and streams of color mimic the explosion and fallout of the battlefield. With each image he first established the vast plane of the landscape, next added the mortar-fire-like clouds, and finished with the delicate addition of the poppy. The five works of art are available in editions of eight with two artist proofs each.
War Poppies builds on Revell’s earlier body of nature-inspired photography known for its abstract and technologically sophisticated approach, influenced by the artist’s early training as a geologist. As in the image of a single poppy in a vast battlefield, Revell’s work is celebrated for its ability to illuminate the extraordinary in the ordinary.