Pollen Bomb 2017

“Pollen Bomb” was the first of three large forms I have created which are derived from botany and biology but fabricated using multiple geometric shapes to create strange otherworldly objects reminiscent of munitions and spacecraft. My intention was to reflect some of the anxiety I feel about the times we live in and the uncertainty about the future. The unchecked rise and reach of social media means we live in a world where we must constantly question the sources of the information we receive and be alert to how social media can be manipulated to subvert democracy in a post truth age. My current work explores this state of increased suspicion and sense of the invisible enemy in our midst.
“Pollen Bomb was created using multiple triangular shapes and mathematical precision. They hint at infiltration, spyware, malware, bots and viruses. “Pollen Bomb” was based on a pollen grain form. Its size and use of rusted Cor-ten steel evokes sea mines and creates an air of menace.

Astropod 2019

Created in a similar way to “Pollen Bomb”, this sculpture was made from triangles of Cor-ten Steel, laser cut then welded together to form a pod which appears to have landed from space. It is based on a virus but the form has been mutated by extending the points gradually from one side to the other. This gives a sense of progression as in an opening flower bud. However, as the points are angular and sharp, they convey a more mechanical and sinister purpose. The form has an open hatch with a camera like shutter detail through which one can peer, the viewer is invited to shout into the echo chamber within. All the welds have been chased to maintain the sharp angles and enhance geometry of the piece. The sculpture measures 1.8 M x 1.6 M x 1.6 M

Space Flower 2019

“Space Flower” is an ambiguous form, part exotic jungle flower and part space pod. It is reminiscent of a “transformer” with opening flaps through which the inside is revealed and gives the impression that it will evolve through mathematical replication to become something else. Could it be a satellite? Could it be spying? The rate of invention is overwhelming for this generation and throws up many questions about how we can maintain control. The sculpture was created with similar methods to the other two, using a mixture of Cor-ten Steel and Stainless steel which enhances the sense of it having an inner and outer surface. Using the polished steel on the inside helps to animate the sculpture as it appears to have recently opened up.

Note: The text above was written by the Artist. No modification was made by COCA.

Joanne Risley

United Kingdom


Joanne’s work follows a tradition of sculptural object making where craftsmanship and hand finishing are important. Influenced by her experience of undergoing several IVF treatments, her work explores the repeated forms found within diverse natural elements, linking the microscopic with the monumental. Often using mathematics in the construction and planning of her sculptures, they have become more geometric over time. The processes of conception, growth, flux and evolution endlessly fascinate her and she seeks to capture something of the wonder and power of nature in her work. An avid gardener, the Artist is currently exploring forms which are derived from botany but fabricated using geometric shapes to create strange otherworldly objects which echo munitions and spacecraft. Her work has been exhibited and commissioned throughout Britain and Ireland, where she lived for a time, and is held in several permanent collections including Warwick University and The Irish Times.

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