Inspirer of Edith Piaf and savoir to Coco Chanel, Saint Therese the patron saint of flowers has long been an inspiration to artists. Just ask artist, florist and researcher Dr. Lisa Cooper, whose intricate floral installation Flower Drawing for St Therese has taken form in the front window of Surry Hills space, The Standard Store.
Motivated by a meeting of minds and a love of French t-shirt brand Amor Luxe, the installation comes six months after Cooper had initially discussed the idea with The Standard Store’s owners.
“The work is a large scale floral portrayal or likeness of Saint Theresa of Lisieux,” says Cooper. “[She is] known as ‘The Little Flower’ and is the patron saint of florists.
Indeed, Cooper’s relationship with the Saint runs deep. “As a child an image of her hung in an oval frame above my bed, and she hangs above my bed still,” she says. “She is always depicted holding flowers, often red roses – a symbol of her promise to spend her heaven doing good on earth by letting ‘fall a shower of roses’ (miracles) after her death.
“Many believe that when she hears your prayers you will receive red roses,” Cooper enthuses. “This kind of religiosity, symbolism, projection and imaging has always been central in my artistic practice.”
Combining her love of floristry and visual arts practice has come quite naturally to Cooper, since working at acclaimed Sydney florist Grandiflora as an undergraduate. “In my practice I work across many mediums, but all of my work is increasingly inhabited by flowers; in my video work, painting and installation I have become obsessed with flowers”.
In installing Flower Drawing for St Therese, Cooper began with a “metal structure and a veil constructed of wire” before developing “the 'drawing' with layers and layers of flora”. The result is a giant, gown shaped, moss encrusted structure that will last a month.
“It will be very different at the end of the month!” laughs Cooper.