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Spring 2014 in New York. Bizarre Flowers and Botanical Curiosities at NYBG

Spring 2014 in New York. Bizarre Flowers and Botanical Curiosities at NYBG
Yareah Magazine

Spring 2014 in New York. Unconventional Plant Subjects Give Twist to Botanical Art. Saturday, April 19 through Sunday, September 21, 2014.

Juried Exhibition at The New York Botanical Garden Features Artists’ Renderings of Botanical Oddities and Curiosities.

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Sarcodon fuscoindicum, violet hedgehog mushroom
Gouache and watercolor on paper, © Lucy Martin

The New York Botanical Garden celebrates the eccentric beauty of the plant kingdom’s most bizarre specimens with the contemporary botanical art exhibition Weird, Wild, & Wonderful in the Ross Gallery, April 19 through September 21, 2014. Presented in conjunction with and curated by the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA), 47 contemporary drawn and painted works from 46 artists showcase a wide array of weird, wild, and wonderful flora.

Botanical artists have traditionally depicted conventionally beautiful plants, such as orchids, irises, and others known to be pleasant to view. Weird, Wild, & Wonderful features plants not always thought of as beautiful but rather eccentric, intriguing, and mysterious. Botanical specimens represented in the exhibition include Buddha’s hand (Citrus edica); shield fern (Polystichum sp.); wasabi (Eutrema japonica); heirloom tomato (Solanum lycopersicum); violet hedgehog mushroom (Sarcodon fuscoindicum); Dog turd fungus with pill bug (Pisolithus tinctorius & Armadillidium vulgare); Romanesco cauliflower (Brassica oleracea); and many others. Media included are watercolor, oil, colored pencil, tempera, graphite, gouache, acrylic, aquatint etching, and pen and ink.

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Solanum lycopersicum, heirloom tomato
Watercolor on paper, © Asuka Hishiki

Weird, Wild, & Wonderful is the second New York Botanical Garden triennial exhibition with the American Society of Botanical Artists. The first, titled Green currency: Plants in the Economy, was on display in 2011 at the Botanical Garden.

Nearly 240 entries were received for Weird, Wild, & Wonderful, and the artists included in the exhibition are from the United States, Australia, Canada, India, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

The selection jury consisted of Lugene Bruno, Curator of Art at the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation; Jean Emmons, award-winning botanical artist; and Marc Hachadourian, Manager of the Nolen Greenhouses for Living Collections at The New York Botanical Garden.

Visitors to the exhibition can listen to an audio tour in which the artists vividly discuss their subjects, inspirations, work methods, and personal stories of artistic and botanical discovery. Additionally, a 76-page color exhibition catalog will be available for purchase at Shop in the Garden.

“Violet hedgehog mushroom is not a common species, and I was thrilled to find it in an area of coastal live oaks in the Santa Cruz Mountains,” said Lucy Martin of Sarcodon fuscoindicum. “I love hedgehog mushrooms for their fascinating structure: they have tiny spines under the cap, instead of gills— hence the name. This species has a gorgeous deep-violet color, ranging to brown-black on the rough, shingled cap to gray-lavender on the spines. The color and the complex structure presented me with an irresistible  challenge.”

“This plant is full of contradictions,” said Dolores R. Santoliquido of Sarracenia purpurea, the purple pitcher plant that she drew. “Its flower is a little umbrella that has an under-hanging fringe of delicate, droopy puppy ear-shaped petals that blow in the slightest spring breeze. Its color is subtle and alluring, transitioning from a pale creamy-yellow to a luscious, light, lipstick red…Its leaves look completely alien, wildly and intensely maroon-colored varicose veins over spring green.”

Weird, Wild, & Wonderful is on display in the Ross Gallery at The New York Botanical Garden and is included in the price of admission to the Botanical Garden.

About American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA):

ASBA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting public awareness of contemporary botanical art, to honoring its traditions and to furthering its development. In its 20th year, ASBA has 1,300 members from over 20 countries around the world. For more information, visit ASBA-art.org.

About NYBG’s Botanical Art Certificate Program:

The New York Botanical Garden offered North America’s first formal botanical art certification program, and has remained a leader in the discipline for three decades. A well-rounded array of courses in the classroom and the Garden grounds can be enjoyed singly, just for fun, or lead to a Certificate. To learn more about the Garden’s Botanical Art Certificate Program or to register for classes, visit nybg.org/AdultEd.

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