Alex Hirtzel


Alex’s latest collection, ‘Tipping Point’ is a series of images using a variety of printing techniques, and in particular applying pigments which are designed to burst into bright

colours when viewed in Ultraviolet light – which is the same way that bees see flowers.


Alex’s immediate inspiration and reference points have been the 17th century Dutch flower paintings in the collection at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, to which Alex has been

granted special access. Allying the codified historical imagery with the most up-to-date of scientific research, Alex is bringing this project together with the Wellcome Sanger Institute near Cambridge, whose work encapsulates the gene sequencing and research of many endangered insects and animals in the UK.


The viewer sees the imagery almost literally through the eyes of bees, and through the understanding of recent research at Bristol starts to see the attraction that the flowers present to their insect partners. While Alex’s use of sepia and pencil alludes to the disappearance of colour as biodiversity declines, overlaying this with UV paints and equipping us with UV torches pulls us ever closer into the imagery, wilder influences of the “Timorous Beasties.” 


We are at the tipping point, the fulcrum of our past and our future. We have to understand and decide what future we need now and how we need to act to get there. Alex hopes her artwork can help us look at flowers differently to see beyond their beauty but think about the symbiotic relationship between insects and flowering plants.


Alex does not allow us to be simply a passive observer of her work; she wants us to take action. We are equipped with a UV torch, empowered to interact with the flowers and explore our own path, to be drawn in.


Alex is a keen gardener and beekeeper and was previously artist in residence at the Royal Parks in London in partnership with The National and Mall Galleries. Combining history and art is something Alex knows very well. She has worked in museums as an artist educator for nearly 30 years. She is clear that it is looking back that gives us the chance to see how we can move forward.

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