When leaves rustle and the wind howls, pumpkins become a favored medium for many artists. This gallery features artists with very diverse backgrounds—a musician, a sculptor, a forensic artist, and a farmer—and designs with equally different aesthetics, including pumpkins with flowers, pumpkins with dead musicians, and pumpkins with NYC pride. Check out these elaborate pumpkin carvings from six carvers—they're inspiring, scary, funny, and beautiful!
Contemporary Swiss artists Gerda Steiner and Jorg Lenzlinger hung flowers, seeds, and branches in a 17th-century church in Venice as part of the 50th Venice Biennale. They called it Falling Garden, a world in which visitors lie in repose on the mausoleum floor, while "the garden thinks for them."
Photographer Honour Hiers collects plants near her home in Western North Carolina, then presses the specimens and photographs them on a light table with 4x5 chrome film. Highlighting a plant's translucency and texture, the beautiful photographs portray familiar species in new ways. She began the Film Herbarium intending to collect all 2600 plant species in the region; she's since expanded the project to include native and non-native plants in and around the state.
Before there was Instagram, there was the Claude glass—a small, tinted, convex mirror that was popular in the 18th century. Toted in artists' cases and tourists' pockets, the portable mirror offered a transformed view of the scenery that became popular with wealthy British vacationers—a world viewed through a Claude glass was a journey through ephemeral snapshots of softly-rendered nostalgia.
Painted from specimens in Kew's Herbarium, Rachel Pedder-Smith's Herbarium Specimen Painting is an 18-foot masterpiece of botanic illustration, and a tapestry with hundreds of narratives that depict a history of plant evolution and scientific discovery.
Written by French botanists who explored North American forests in the late 1700s, The North American Sylva is a monumental work with masterful illustrations and extensive botanic profiles. The book would help France reforest its post-war countryside, and become a landmark in North American forestry. Today, it remains readable and interesting—certainly a work of evergreen value.
A dual exhibition at Kew Botanical Gardens features Plants in Peril and Losing Paradise, showing illustrations of endangered plants through the world. The exhibition closes March 18, 2012, so go see it if you can!