Tracey Bush


For many years I made scrapbooks; collections of ephemera that I could not throw away. These books have now emerged as Lepidoptera, butterflies and moths; ancient symbols of transformation. Each moth or butterfly is sewn together from layers of paper using a bookbinders pamphlet stitch. They are then pinned out using entomological pins in Museum boxes.

Influenced by the conventions of collecting The Postman is cut from foreign postmarked envelopes and letters. The collection of map butterflies British Butterflies is cut from old maps and atlases. Each butterfly is an actual species and is life size. Each is made with an allusion to its name or habitat- hence the Scotch Argus butterfly shows a Scottish Loch on its wing, while the High Brown Fritillary is cut from the dun contours of the Cheviots. The poetic names of British butterflies, such as Meadow brown and Chalkhill blue are hand-written in brown ink on tiny scientific labels.

Butterflies are amongst the first indicators of environmental change; these works hopes to highlight their frailty and diversity, as an alternative to a collection of actual specimens.

Nine wild plants began with reading that: It has been estimated that the average Western adult can recognise a thousand brand names and logos, but less than ten wild plants.

Drawing on a culture of collecting, three-dimensional flowers: Field Poppy and Meadow Buttercup are presented in taxidermy cases. Recycled paper packaging used to make these playful constructions was picked up from London’s streets. Bright colours and anthropomorphic cartoon characters belie a barbed investigation of the deeply embedded brand-awareness within our culture. The plants used as specimen types were collected in the London area. Some might be considered weeds and are often overlooked. Nine wild plants combines the precision of carefully observed botanical constructions, with the overblown excesses of consumerism.


The Tate Gallery Library
The British Library (Handling Collection)
The Museum of London.
Department of Prints and Drawings, Winchester School of Art Library.
Little Magazines and Poetry Store Collection, University College London
The Camberwell College of Arts and Crafts Collection.
The River and Rowing Museum, Henley-on-Thames.
The Swansea Institute Library Wales.
The British Land Company
Manchester Metropolitan University Library
Ireland Wexford Arts Centre.
The Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archive of Visual and Concrete Poetry, Miami
The Yale Centre for British Art, Connecticut
The Jaffe Collection, Florida Atlantic University

Solo Exhibitions
Nine Wild Plants, an Arts Council funded exhibition at Pennybank Gallery, London
Paper Butterfly, an exhibition to celebrate recipients of the Clerkenwell Award.
Publicity designed by A Practice For Everyday Life.
The Ephemeral Imago, an installation of a collection of butterfly books in the Friends Room at the Natural History Museum.
2000 London River at Upstairs at the Clerks House, an 18th Century house in Shoreditch

Selected Exhibitions
Midsummer Magic, jaggedart
London Art Fair, jBusiness Design Centre, Islington, with jaggedart
Winter Show, jaggedart, London
the sea of spring
rising and falling,
all the day long, jaggedart, London 

Without my journey and without the Spring, I would have missed this dawn”, jaggedart, London
Nature of Knowledge, jaggedart, London
The London Art Fair, jaggedart
Flower, 21st June-28th July at Galerie Handwerk, Munich.
Flora, 5th April-4th May At Emma Hill Fine Art, Eagle Gallery, London
Inkubator, An exhibition of artists books, prints and multiples curated by David Faithfull, Edinburgh printmakers, Union Street, Edinburgh
Migrations, Tracey Bush and Julie Cockburn. Mixed paperworks and artists’ books. At Emma Hill Fine Art, Eagle Gallery, London
Recent Gifts and Acquisitions, Yale Centre for British Art, 1080 Chapel Street, New Haven, Arcadia id est, Artists’ Books, Nature and the Landscape, An exhibition of 111 artists’ books touring to venues in Europe, Australia and the USA until 2007.
The Book Show, 3 Degrees West Gallery, The Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere
Ocean Flowers, The Yale Centre for British Art, 1080 Chapel Street, New Haven, USA
The Book Show, The Nunnery, Bow Road, London
The Allotment Archive, Lambeth Walk, London. 2001
In Print, The Ferens Art Gallery, Kingston-upon Hull
Books by Artists A Survey exhibition of over 100 British artists’ books, UWE, Bristol.
Bankside Browser A Tate Gallery of Modern Art Project. Exhibited with Cathy de Monchaux.
Graphic! ‘British Prints Now’ Yale Centre for British Art. Artists included: Gary Hume and Damien Hirst.

I997 The Francis Mathew Scholarship awarded by the Stationers Company. This award enabled me to travel to South Korea, in order to research ‘Korean Paper Culture’ which is lodged at Stationers’ Hall.
1995 British Council Travel Award which funded my participation as an invited artist in the Sorak Biennale.

PGCE (14-19 specialism) Art and Design. The Institute of Education, Universityof London
MA Printmaking (Fine Art). Camberwell College of Arts
BA (Hons) Illustration Kingston University Film
Butterfly, a short film made by James Melloy. Featured in numerous international Film festivals, including the East End Film Festival 2006.