I conceived of, directed and posed for this series of photos in Marx Meadow, part of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, in the spring of 2014. Shot by Sarah Deragon, they were the introduction to "Heads", my first solo exhibit of large scale pieces at Rare Device in May 2014. I use this type of photo frequently, usually shot by my son or daughter, to mark the expressiveness of each large scale flower before exhibiting it, and they have become a sort of "meme" around the globe with many other flower makers following suit. Find a collection of these photographs here.
"The preternatural (from the Latin præter and naturae) is that which appears outside or beyond the normal and natural. In theology, the term preternatural is often used to distinguish marvels or deceptive trickery, often attributed to witchcraft or demons, from the divine and sacred power of the genuinely supernatural. Upon the arrival of early modern science, the concept of the preternatural was used to refer to abnormalities and strange phenomena that seemed to transgress the working laws of nature, but which were not associated with magic or witchcraft. The terms preternatural and supernatural originally acquired distinct definitions within the ancient religious movement of Gnosticism, but have been since incorrectly equated as interchangeable phrases.
Pre-12th Century Gnostics distinguished between the natural, the preternatural, and the supernatural. Natural describes all that belongs to the material world and adheres to strict physical and scientific laws. Preternatural is the action that goes beyond the structure of the nature of the material universe. Supernatural is the action that goes beyond any created nature, belonging only to the divine.
The photographic and sculptural work in this exhibition falls within the preternatural, occupying space and time suspended between the mundane and the miraculous. Depicting and embodying flora, fauna, and landscape that appear to exist beyond the natural, the exhibition also comments on a number of pressing issues of our time, from global warming and rising sea levels, to genetic mutation and bioengineering, to survival and adaptation."
Exhibit photography courtesy of Scott Chernis.
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For me, there are few more expressive or forgiving pursuits in the art of paper flower making than to create dead, dying, decaying, wilting, or deformed flowers. The movement in the collapsing head of a wilting specimen eclipses the sometimes stagnant rhythm of the face of a fresher flower. There is much left to discover here, with a world of subject matter and environmental issues to study, from simple rot to abnormal conditions like fasciation, phyllody and petalody, to the effects of our ever-changing environment on plant life.
These are some of my favorite specimens to create, in both small and large scales. I am looking to build a new body of work to exhibit in 2018 that will partially focus on dead paper flowers and the reasons why they are "dead".
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In late 2014, UK-based Simone Webb and I collaborated on a series of four images, using photographs of my large scale work taken at different angles.
Although working in different mediums, different scales and different countries, Simone and I have one element in common; our subject matter. Flora are at the center of both of our works, inevitably forging an exploration into the difference in scale and mediums. In these pieces, Simone strayed away from her practice of exploring the transitionary states that occur in nature to embrace the delicate and still beauty of my giant, intricate paper flowers. By scaling these large blooms back down to a size manageable on the printed page, Simone was able to capture them in a way their original three-dimensional, oversized state never would have allowed. We worked together to find the tension and balance in these compositions, which were executed by Simone in her UK studio.
Read more about it HERE.
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