Human Flower Project

Flowers Raise the Bar for Art

To mark the end of summer (please!) an Austin gallery goes lushly avant-garde.


Mario Gaitan’s arrangement of carnations, coxcomb, yarrow and ducks makes a quizzical counterpoint to

Tony Saladino’s abstract painting.

Photo: Human Flower Project

“Today’s the last day!” we chirped.

“…the last hour of the last day,” Judy Taylor replied. Taylor’s Gallery Shoal Creek capped off an excruciating Austin summer with a four-day show of floral installations. While the city has been withering in record heat and drought, Taylor mounted “In Bloom”  in defiance.

Many fine art museums – including Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, the Milwaukee Art Museum, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts – have arranged these jutxaposition/exhibitions for years. Other art galleries have likely tried it too, but this August—as even the lantana shrivels – seeing a fence of long-stemmed calla lilies and a diorama with golden yarrow trees and hillocks of red coxcomb has a greater power to shock than Chris Bearden or Andres Serrano. In a drought like ours, flowers are avant-garde. (See a slideshow of the whole installation here.”)


Jennifer Myers made fish out of agave to swim among Alexey Krasnovsky’s paintings

Photo: Human Flower Project

Vibrant color was the main mutual-attraction in all these pairings. Jennifer Myers keys off the tropical plants, the blues, oranges and greens in Alexey Krasnovsky’s paintings. Her installation submerges us in a pool with “fish” constructed of huge agave leaves. They swim among Krasnovsky’s canvasses over a trail of glass shards.

Mario Gaitan and Keith Burnham play with the saturated reds and purples of Tony Saladino’s paintings. Just inside the gallery door, baby ducklings (kudos to the taxidermist) are pecking at a mound of red carnations. Across the foyer, a box wrapped in leaves bursts open; black seeds inside already sprout like curiosity.


David Kurio took on Rene Alvarado’s painting Las Tres Lichas with a sculpture of sunflowers.

Photo: Human Flower Project

The showstopper is David Kurio’s huge sculpture of sunflowers, extending horizonally across the bottom of Rene Alvarado’s Las Tres Lichas. In the painting a ballerina stands on pointe. Below, Kurio’s lush “bar” with a heavy limb of sunflower propped upon it pays homage to the dancer’s preparation; the underlying discipline is, in fact, more beautiful than the performance.

They say “vita brevis, ars longa,” and on day four, indeed, the sunflowers here and there are starting to crumple. But which is ephemeral – the dance or the dancer’s craft? A fine painting or the memory of scarlet coxcombs?

We overheard Judy Taylor say she plans another floral art show next year, perhaps with a more sculptural theme, and we hope that comes to pass. If next summer is anything like this one has been, artists, designers and the rest of us are going to need it.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 08/30 at 12:02 PM


Viewed the slideshow.  Floral exuberance!

Posted by Georgia on 09/02 at 11:56 AM
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.