Fantastic Flora

 

Archival Pigment Prints 

 

The tradition of the still-life goes back through the history of art, but it was at the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century that the popularity of the genre exploded. Photography was still centuries in the future and painters took on the task of capturing the beauty of the natural world in a way that was both realistic and fabricated. 

Flowers were popular subject matter for artists such as the Flemish painter Jan Brueghel the Elder and the Dutch painter Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder. Their highly ornate, detailed and flamboyant works combined artistic technique, precision, and imagination with themes of beauty, wealth, life, death, and abundance, among others and are loaded with symbolism. For instance, individual flowers, such as the rose (love), tulip (nobility), and violet (modesty) contained symbolic meaning. Loose petals dropped on the tabletop symbolized decay and the inevitability of death. Despite the flamboyant abundance depicted, these paintings were meant to suggest the passage of time and remind people of the fleeting and ephemeral nature of life.

It was in the tradition of still life painting and the inspiration of these artists that this series of 21st century camera-less photographs were made using pulled-apart artificial flowers, a scanner and computer.

 

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