At first glance, Meadow Medal by Rosemary Terry (b. 1953) marks a significant departure from the concern with Enlightenment science and the body displayed in the artist’s recent work. As she writes:
‘Last summer, part of my local urban churchyard was sown with a wild flower meadow, and this became a spectacular sight, dominated by the graceful, architectural forms of wild carrot (daucus carota). On daily dog walks I watched these beautiful umbellifers develop buds, flowers and finally seed heads – every stage fascinating and sculptural. Meadow Medal celebrates the cycle of this commonplace, overlooked plant by showing on one side the flower head in bud, encapsulating a summer churchyard, while on the reverse the seed head, inverted, scatters seed over the scene in winter.’
However much it differs in ostensible subject, it could be argued that this medal shares with Terry’s other small-scale works a concern with the consistency of form in nature, from big to small, in which a tree might recall the bronchi of the lungs, or vice versa. In outline, the medal may allude to a grouping of nerves, perhaps at the back of an eye. In a broader sense, the situation of the churchyard extends this similarity to touch upon the fecundity of death, as, in decay, our remains take new shape in the life they sustain.
Terry is senior lecturer in sculpture at the University of Wolverhampton.