Art and Garden in New York. Celebrating a delightful intersection of art and garden, Art of the Heirloom at The New York Botanical Garden illustrates the stories and cultural history behind some of the heirloom vegetables, flowers, and herbs offered by the Hudson Valley Seed Library in Accord, New York.
The exhibition, which opened in the Botanical Garden’s Ross Gallery on November 15, 2014, and runs through January 19, 2015, features 59 artworks commissioned by the Seed Library over the years for its seed packs. Art of the Heirloom includes the 16 selections for its 2015 collection, chosen from more than 400 submissions.
Featured artists range from the up-and-coming to the world-renowned, working in watercolor, collage, oil, letterpress, embroidery, and even stained-glass.
Drawing Inspiration from a Seed’s Cultural Story:
The Hudson Valley Seed Library believes that every seed represents a cultural story—the long history of those who selected the plants that the seeds came from, tended them to keep them alive, and passed on their seeds. To help tell these fertile and creative stories, the Seed Library—which produces hundreds of pounds of seed each year on its own small farm—commissions original art for a select number of unique seed packs in its annual catalog.
Among the new works for the 2015 collection, artist Jenny Lee Fowler used cut paper for the Chervil seed pack, creating a work that depicts the anise-scented herb and features the silhouette of a woman holding a pair of large shears, ready to snip the plants towering over her—or perhaps create a cut-paper work of art.
In Daniel Baxter’s ink-on-paper work for the Blue Jade Sweet Corn seed pack, an ear of blue corn appears to be growing out of a map of Mexico, where the corn comes from.
Other artists in the 2015 collection, their seed pack, and medium, are: Lynne Bittner (Greek Oregano, archival inkjet print), Nancy Blum (Milkweed, ink and paint on paper), Lillian Edwards (Purple Tomatillo, ink and gesso on banana paper), Joel Floyd (Moss Curled Parsley, watercolor on paper), Melissa Garden (Salad Savor: Arugula, Baby Bok Choy, Red Streaks Mizuna, Tokyo Bekana, Yukina Savoy, gouache on paper), Sarah Jacoby (Chives, watercolor on paper), Olivia Mew (Snapdragon Mix, digital illustration), Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson (Radiant Radish Blend, cut paper collage, acrylic on board), Tonja Sell (Midnight Garden Flower Mix: Candytaft, White Four O’Clocks, White Cosmos, Sweet Mignonette, Bishop’s Flower, Evening Scented Stock, Sensation Mixed Nicotiana, pastel and paint on paper), Amy Valuck (Tri-Color Bean Blend, stained glass), Sally Vitsky (Sea Shells Cosmos, paper sculpture), Shu Ju Wang (Polar Bear Zinnia, gouache and graphite on paper), Robin Wessman (Bridge to Paris Pepper, oil on board), and Decue Wu (Coral Fountain Amaranth, digital illustration on paper).
Founder Ken Greene started the Seed Library in 2004 while working as a librarian at the Gardiner Public Library in Gardiner, New York. After four years of running the program at the library, he and partner Doug Muller launched the Hudson Valley Seed Library as a business project in 2008.
To learn more about the Hudson Valley Seed Library, visit seedlibrary.org.
Exhibitions in the Ross Gallery are made possible by the Arthur and Janet Ross Fund.