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Art + Science Panel
March 3, 2020 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
The collaboration of CENTRAL BOOKING with the Brooklyn Botanic Garden on the project Plant Cure/Brooklyn continues with the opening of the exhibition of the five visual artists-in-residence, Desirée Alvarez, Agnes Murray, Maddy Rosenberg, Amanda Thackray, and James Walsh in the Conservatory Gallery. The exhibition focuses on the artwork produced and a selection of the research materials used by the artists during their residencies. An art and science roundtable opens both the exhibition and the spring season at the Garden at 6pm on Tuesday, March 3. Additionally, the artists will be participating in events throughout the exhibition’s run, including during Sakura Matsuri in April and the Harvest Homecoming Festival in October.
Plant Cure was meant to be a project that literally grew from place to place to incorporate more artists, institutions, and collections into a connective thread, with each additional collaboration involving new work while evolving the work of past participants. Brooklyn Botanic Garden seemed to be the ideal next location for the project, a childhood place of exploration for Maddy Rosenberg, the founder and curator of CENTRAL BOOKING.
In February 2019, Desirée Alvarez, Agnes Murray, Amanda Thackray, and James Walsh joined Maddy Rosenberg as visual artists in residence at Brooklyn Botanic Garden and began the research to produce the work for Plant Cure/Brooklyn. They enjoyed ongoing free access to the collections of the library as well as full rein to explore the gardens for six months. The artists were chosen for their distinctive and varied approaches to source material and their work reveals their own individual takes on the subject of medicinal plants. Brooklyn Botanic Garden has its own history as a place of healing. Within its gates, whether researching in the warm sanctuary of its library or following the growth from hibernation to full bloom of their plants of choice, the artists delved deeply.
The installations of Desirée Alvarez are where the poet and visual artist meet in a layering of space, as each discrete cloth page informs the next: at the same time, the choice of plants as her subjects is a truly personal one.
The sculptures of Agnes Murray have been inspired by the 19th century scientific plant models used for study purposes to formulate her own anesthetically appealing variations; her process is just the opposite for the works on paper, as she carefully nurtures the plants herself to capture the flowers as they mature.
Maddy Rosenberg‘s quest was to connect with indigenous plants of Brooklyn to shed light on curative properties of both plant and place, with lantern slides growing into the shadows of an animation and the delicate paintings that quietly intrude here and there.
With Amanda Thackray, the winding honeysuckle plant more literally evokes a narrative of medicinal help in both an indigenous and an invasive species, exploring a duality that exists throughout nature.
James Walsh‘s delicate portrayals of sassafras through pressed and mounted specimens delve into the history of its varied medicinal uses, as he juxtaposes them with the accounts of specialists and early explorers.
Though we may enjoy the aesthetics and the fragrances of many of these plants studied, explored and reinterpreted in the many dimensions of art, there remains much beneath the surface beauty to discover.