art & botany

art & botany

Articles & Photos

Israeli artist Ori Gersht uses natural subjects to embody peace, beauty, and luxury. His flowers, forests, and fruits are edens, disrupted by a dark world. His first museum survey is at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston through January 6th. 
Photographer Klaus Enrique has revived a Renaissance classic: the surreal botanical portraits of 16th-century Milanese painter Guiseppe Arcimboldo—now, rendered through the lens, not the brush. A modern perspective gives the work new meaning: rather than "From what far off land did that gourd arrive?" we ask "Is that a hybrid or an heirloom?" Instead of "The painter is nuts," we think "The photographer must eat very healthy." 
Photographer Alexander James, who has worked with floral subjects for over 15 years, will go to any lengths necessary to get the shot, including submerging bouquets & fruit in a dark tank, rigging an underwater light, and even breeding butterflies in his studio. In this Q&A, he talks about his latest series, 'Glass,' for which he's developed a process that replaces color pigment with purified water. 
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Arizona artist Kathy Klein gathers natural materials to design circular arrangements in situ. After photographing her work, she walks away. The colorful medallions are now ephemeral gifts for whoever comes along.
Photographer Edward Steichen was also a delphinium breeder. In 1936, New York's MoMA hosted an exhibit of new varieties that the artist had hybridized on his 10-acre farm in Connecticut. 
Photographer Diana Scherer grew plants in vases for six months, then photographed the flower and its network of supporting roots. 
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Florigelia were popular in the seventeeth century. Often illustrated by eminent artists, the lavishly produced books catalogued the plants in a garden, or collected on an expedition. Who can afford to produce such a book today? A prince, of course. His Royal Highness, Prince Charles of Wales, who sponsored The Highgrove Florilegium, a collection of plants in the royal garden, and one of the most expensive books of modern times. 
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London-based artist Simon Heijdens explores the ecology of objects, and introduces the narrative of the natural world to the built environment. His garden of 'digital, living organisms,' evolves with a gust of wind or a passerby.
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A flower's demise is a slow process—unless you're photographer Jon Shireman, in which case it happens with a quick pivot and a smash. He immerses his flowers to stiffen them, then flings them against a hard surface. The shattered remains are beautiful.
To look at a history of botanic illustration is to look at the changing significance of a plant over time. A new exhibit at Lotusland, in Montecito, California, does just this. Historic prints document these transitional periods—of plant as medical specimen, to exotic beauty, to garden delight—in a show titled "The Plant Hunters: Botanical Illustrations from the 16th to 19th Centuries," which runs through November 2.
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