Tuesday, March 16, 2010

WAYS OF SEEING - a visit to dear ada

       In the previous post I referred to the fact there are a great many approaches to Botanical subject matter in the Visual Arts. In the field of Scientific Botanical Illustration there is and no doubt always will be variation and invention, even in this most classical of arenas.
Ways of seeing indeed!
I thought I would highlight the curious and imagination directions of some artists working with botanical subjects in this post. However, I am going to start with several simple drawings from the children who came to my studio last year by way of introduction to / immersion in the multi-dimensional world where art meets botany.

The first work is by 7 year old Tom - perhaps worth clicking to enlarge this image - Tom was asked to draw something he liked and he jumped up and ran to the garden and came back with these camellias and nasturtium and a shell. I was intrigued to observe the careful layout of items that preoccupied him for a time then the extraordinary series of little texta images he created on the top right hand side of the page. He was totally engaged and only at the end did he look up, grow concerned and proceed to apologise for the smallness of the drawings, not that I was bothered by this. When it was time to go home he carefully carried the entire arrangement with drawing home as is here - his mother realising it was quite precious to him made sure it arrived home safely.
This entire procedure really fascinated me and it struck me that there was something quite powerful in this ritual that all of us could learn from. To see the deep absorbtion and the importance of composition, the artfulness in that alone was affecting.

Here in 12 year old Phoebe's work she collected leaves outside then observed and recorded the unique colours and features with care, painting each individually in a small notebook before the final invention - pasting them on a single stalk. On the one hand a simple process, but in another way, I saw her really take her time to appreciate the uniqueness of what she was looking at ... and I liked the whimsical and perhaps nonsensical twist at the end. It effectively draws attention to the uniqueness of each -  a curious way of completing her work.

Now I am taking you to the weblog Dear Ada (click on title to open) for a quick viewing of artists listed under botanical - garden in her categories. I would like to give the links to each individual artist here but that would take hours... so do visit the Dear Ada botanical link I have provided above and when you are free to trawl take a look at the links to the various artists. Apologies for not providing the details for wach artist here. The list starts with the extraordinarily talented Australian artist Fiona Hall and takes you to different parts of the globe, mediums and processes and styles of working. I hope you are intrigued and delighted as much as I was to survey the enormous variety in ways of seeing.

1. Fiona Hall

2. Ruth Van Haren Noman

3. Ellen Goldschmidt

4. Qiang Huang
Demo at salado 1

5. Bill Beckley

6.  John Baird

7. Sonnenschein Eliezer

8. Neil Jones
Pea swipe

9. David Hockney
Picture 36
10. Hugo Guinness

11. Not Known or identified
Mystery 3

12.  Joyce Tennyson

13. Dam and Karislund Glas

14.  Maarten Kolk
15.  Linda Broadfoot

16. Malin Bjorklund
17. Scrapbook Floriegium

18. Daniel Williams

19.  Pamela Di Mauro
20.  Benjamin Long

21.  Dirk Mueggenburg

22. Gustav Oskar Andersson malme

23.  David Pearson
24. Karl Blossfeldt

25. Olga Seem

26.alain gerard clement

27.  Chris Hellman

28. Ric Heitzman

29. Becky Suss

30.  Alice Stevenson

31. Judy Pfaff

32. Julie Blyfield

33.  Allan Ballie

34. Nancy Blum

35. Anna Atkins

36.  Rudolf Blaschka

37. Camilla Penti

38. Jennifer Scott

39. John Buck

40.  Ernest Ciavano 

41.Ninagawa Mika
 I think you will agree this is an extraordinary range of works... and yet just the tip of the iceberg so to speak.  Thanks to Dear Ada for the peek into this fabulous array of wonderful artists and their work.  


Nicola Moss said...

Great post Sophie, such a wonderful range of artworks and each different. Liked the childrens art a lot.
Hope all your projects are going well and you are finding time to enjoy the process.
thanks, nicola.

Sophie Munns said...

Lovely to hear from you Nicola!
Thanks for your thoughts. I came across this category on dear ada awhile back and thought it would demonstrate immediately the enormously varied ways we see and experience the botanical world both as artists and as viewers.
It was good to revisit the children's work at the same time and appreciate how adults have to employ some of that fresh seeing that children have in abundance, even as they work in their chosen disciplines.
I know from conversing with you that you like to on the one hand maintain your strong focus and discipline - yet also make room for something outside that is different to come in.
I'm enjoying the work very much now - starting to get a good flow between studio, garden, dialogue, learning, thinking, documenting and reflecting. The one thing I cant skip over is the thinking time - i'm finding it critical to anchor all the incoming material!
Im sure you completely relate to that in your work Nicola!

Sanne said...

very nice selection, a refreshing post!

sophie munns said...

Hi Sanne,
thanks for the lovely comment... I do like to visit dear ada and it was such fun selecting these ones!
You must be enjoying signs of spring in the netherlands now... go well!

nathalie et cetera said...

superb selection!

sophie munns said...

Merci Nathalie,

em said...

thank you thank you for sharing this! it's so inspirational! i like the photograph best, of course. wow!

sophie munns said...

Thank you Em...
Yes...the photography...of course... you've taken such excellent shots in your own garden for your blog!
It is inspiring to see all this work together to appreciate that wee see differently and artists work very differently.

Its such a shame that we grow up, getting graded and awarded so often for only the most narrow of conventions. I really am quite profoundly sorry I only learned of the cultural values of Europe in my art and music education. I always adored playing Bach on piano but to discover different forms and styles of music was the ultimate for me. Still is critical!

sophie munns said...
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