Portia Munson’s latest show at P.P.O.W uses photography, installation, and sculpture to create a vibrant and colorful atmosphere that examines nature, including our own.
Entering the gallery, photographic wallpaper of dandelions reach out from under a series of still life prints or memento mori: images of actual flower blossoms, carefully arranged by the artist as a mandala, inside of which, a woodland creature, formerly found along the roadside, nestles.
Of her imaging process, Munson elaborates, “I use the scanner like a large-format camera. I lay flowers directly onto it, allowing pollen and other flower stuff to fall onto the glass and become part of the image. When the high-resolution scans are enlarged, amazing details and natural structures emerge. Every flower mandala is unique to a moment in time, represents what is in bloom on the day I made it.”
When shown alongside Munson’s other piece: Reflecting Pool, a “congested installation” of heaping blue landfill trash, we are forced to confront our natural instincts– to build and discard with quick irreverence.
Photographer Fong Qi Wei transforms flowers simply by dismantling them. Her series Exploded Flowers captures a variety of flowers picked apart petal by petal then carefully arranged. The meticulously arrayed petals closely resemble mandalas or celestial bodies. Each composition underscores the unbelievable symmetry packed into often small flowers. However, there is also subtle medical atmosphere to the photographs, as if they were autopsied flowers or like pinned butterflies. Her series has garnered her some awards including 2nd place in the International Photography Awards’ Nature category. [via]
Enrico Nagel‘s Secret Garden is a series of collage portraits. High fashion models are contrasted against a plain paperboard background. Each model’s face is replaced with a garish arrangement of flowers, jewels, and other ephemera. Nagel juxtaposes what he terms as the “artificial imagery” of the fashion world with the natural imagery of flowers. Each bloom seems like a nearly violent coup of the subject’s identity, the clothing being the only remnant of the former glossy fashion mag photo.