In the exhibition, Full Cycle, I document my experience observing and relating to Southern California native and non-native plants throughout 2018. Images are from all four seasons and illuminate a glimpse into a full yearly plant life-cycle. My focus on individual flowers allow me and those who view the work to experience wonder and mystery in the everyday natural world. One of the enormous threats of global warming is loss of natural habitat established in part by native flora included in these photos.
It is my intention that this exhibition help create a meditative experience with the small scale personal view of individual flowers. Morning light in many photos like the blossom Plumeria creates an elusive, delicate visual enclosure. Shots are from my Santa Monica apartment balcony, the Ballona Dunes, Kiss the Ground, a communal garden in Venice, and the Eternal Meadow at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Santa Monica. Visits to the cemetery were a catalyst for beginning to bring themes of green burial into the work.
There are many photos of the Milkweed Plant, which is food for the Monarch Butterfly. The red and orange blossoms are playful and inviting. A series of opening and unwinding seedpods documents the natural vitality and “tenacity” of this native after it goes to seed. The breeze will transport the delicate seeds to new growth sites.
Among other questions that arose during the year were “What is living? What is dormant? What is the nature of beauty at the end of flowers’ blossoming? What can I learn from these plants about opening, unfolding and eventual passing away?” Many images address questions regarding plants’ transitions. The Ballona Dunes image “Dormant” shows the bold, complex form of a plant that may be resting through a dry season or perhaps has waited too long for moisture to regenerate. Photos of fading blossoms have elements of fascination as colors fade and vibrant fluid filled petals become parchment like. Color goes from vibrant to muted. Beautiful or not? The experience of taking these photos extended my continuum of perceived, embraced and shared beauty.
I have also been gathering plant materials; petals, leaves and branches from native and medicinal flora. Each phase of development has unique beauty, including decomposition. It is my intention to compost the Return installation to facilitate its transformation to soil.