Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Mark Francis – mushrooms

Another artist fascinated by mushrooms is Mark Francis. In a book about the work of this artist (Mark Francis – by Richard Dyer, James Peto and Francis McKee, published by Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane and Lund Humphries, 2008), which was send to me recently by a friend, I found an image of another mushroom spore print and a photograph of a model of Amanita muscaria, the Fly agaric.

Mark Francis talking about mushrooms in an interview in this book:

.... JP: Yes, but you are also intrigued by those kinds of huge numbers at the microscopic end of the scale, aren't you?

: Yes, I was thinking about that when I made a spore print recently. I placed an actual mushroom on top of a piece of paper and covered it with a container. I waited for the spores to fall overnight onto the paper. This process left an identical footprint of the spore dispersal from the gills. It's like a mirror image of the underside of a mushroom. A field mushroom, say three inches across, has roughly 400 gills and about 16 thousand million spores; These fall out at a rate of 40 million an hour. I find these figures mind-boggling.

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