Whereas art and life are mere imitations of each other, I can echo that sentiment loudly from my own forest. After relocating to rural upstate New York 17 years ago my life has become completely informed and inspired by my interaction with the plant kingdom. So much so that I became a commercial landscaper, grow a large amount of my own food, and started a botanical garden with my husband. Hortus Conclusus (Hortus.biz) has become a class-1 Arboretum specializing in rare fruit plants from around the world. Our goal is for our gardens to be a “Living Textbook”.
My art has also followed my life interests using plants as a wellspring for inspiration. My current body of work deals with the properties of found organic materials at various times of the year. It also deals with the processes those materials undergo through nature’s transitions: decomposition, sunlight, wind, insects, etc. By combining natural materials with wax I am trying to capture human-animal interaction with nature. The treatment of these organic materials along with various techniques of encaustic painting will convey the feeling of particular moments of time and how they reflect human emotions. From sprout to decay, the viewer is visually confronted with the profoundly beautiful, devastating, and inevitable cycle of life. My paintings are my attempt to portray, justify, and to find beauty and solace in these brief moments. View Allyson’s CV.
Serrano is best known for his fabricated 19th-century science installation, Picturesque Flora Wallaceana: Botanical Ambulations in Greater Wallaceana 1854-1857. Picture an exhibition in a Victorian natural history museum, where the entry is marked with red velvet curtains. Inside are displayed meticulous, colorful botanical illustrations and descriptions of the most truly peculiar, fantastical flora to be found on the island of Wallaceana. There are travelogues and vintage newspaper articles, and flowery quotes from plant explorers written on the walls above these items.
The name of Serrano’s invented island of “Wallaceana” is an homage to naturalist and plant explorer Alfred Russel Wallace, who co-discovered evolution by natural selection with Charles Darwin. Serrano is obsessed with Wallace’s travel accounts: “Wallace’s writings capture the feeling of absolute unbridled joy of hitting tropical jungle, being immersed like a sponge among new plants and insects, and trying to record everything he saw”. View Scott’s CV.