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Conceptual Flower Art
Nature has always had a strong presence in my life. As a Vermonter, I grew up in close proximity to nature. Consequently, my relationship to the natural world deeply influences my artistic sensibilities. My “conceptual flower art” is a visual manifestation of my sensory experience in nature. In this body of work, I strive to evoke the ephemeral yet timeless beauty of nature. During my college semester abroad in Paris, I took a series of photographs that would become the inspiration for my “conceptual flower art”. Near my metro stop (Boulogne – Jean Jaurés), I found myself drawn to a striking image. Outside Marché Escudier, a bi-weekly local produce and goods market, I noticed a flower bed that contained some thistle-like flowers. As it was late fall, the flowers were dried and withered. Although the flowers were dead, their graceful silhouettes created a lively pattern that was superimposed over the tiles on the side of the building. This juxtaposition of organic matter with inorganic forms suggested the metaphor of nature’s resilience over man-made structures. Despite the efforts of human civilization, nature possesses the ability to renew itself and reclaim its territory, given time. I could imagine how, the outer wall of Marché Escudier would be obliterated by the growth of these flowers in the spring.
My photographs became the inspiration for a series of lithograph prints and oil paintings which I produced while studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. In effort to convey the ephemeral quality of the flowers, I apply the oil paint in thin washes, producing a watercolor effect. The flower images are represented in silhouettes, to further emphasize their transient nature. The geometric, cube-like pattern in the background suggests the tiles on the side of the building and symbolizes the presence of man-made structures amidst the natural world. As this body of work has evolved, I have chosen to de-emphasize, and often remove, the elusion to man-made structures; hence the omission of the geometric, cube-like pattern in certain pieces (Marché Escudier VI). The images have become exclusively an essay on the timeless yet ephemeral beauty of nature. Thus, I have chosen to place the focus soley on the flower forms.