The Ninth Annual International Juried Botanical Art Exhibition, on view at The Horticultural Society of New York (HSNY) features a juried selection of works from The American Society of Botanical Artists, Inc. (ASBA). For the past nine consecutive years the show has been co-sponsored by the two cultural non-profits. This unique exhibition will showcase thirty seven pre-eminent artists working in the genre of botanical art worldwide. Included are forty six original works from the U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan, Sweden and the UK rendered in watercolor, graphite, pen and ink, gouache, and colored pencil.
The complexity of plant life is better understood today than in the drawing rooms of the 18th and 19th century, but what intrigues people is that there is so much yet to learn. An artist may be painting a newly discovered plant, a newly hybridized plant, a common garden plant, or one threatened with extinction. Botanical artists today can’t help but be aware that plants are integral to historical lore, contemporary stories, and are harbingers of the future. In this way, plants make fascinating and ever-changing subjects.
None of the artists in this exhibition would consider botanical art a dusty, staid repetition of what has come before. Modernism informs and enlivens contemporary botanical art. Compositional ideas originating in abstraction, understanding of negative and positive space, and attempting to convey something more than the scientific facts about the subject are some of the ways the contemporary artist breathes life into the art form.
From the velvety lushness of Iris petals to the abandon of a merry-go-round of marigolds to the brilliant color of beets, the artworks chosen for this exhibition celebrate beauty in plant life abundantly. The lowly cauliflower appears uncommonly exuberant, and the seeds of the acorn squash are exposed to view, meticulously yet robustly rendered. Fritillaria seem to dance across the page. Rarities such as Prairie Smoke, devotionally drawn in pen and ink down to the wispy seed pods demonstrate the range each artist’s unique vision brings to the art form.
This exhibition is evidence of the vitality and range of botanical art in today’s world. As one of the earliest impulses of creativity in humankind, recording the world’s plant life artistically will be part of our existence until the end of time. We are happy to once again contribute to that continuum.
The Horticultural Society of New York
148 West 37th Street, 13th Floor,
New York, NY 10018 (Between Broadway and 7th Avenue)
Gallery hours are from 12:00 - 6:00 pm Monday to Friday and by Appointment.