Saturday, December 10, 2016

Art I'm looking At: Traveling Exhibit of Botanical Art & Illustration at the Petaluma Arts Center

The Petaluma Arts Center is hosting a small but very high quality traveling exhibit of botanical art right now. Tomorrow, December 11, is the last day to see it. The show features works of botanical art and illustration from the collection of the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation at Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh. The show comprises 36 works by artists from nine countries (Australia, China, England, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, South Africa, South Korea, and the US), all but one piece by women, and each one exquisite. The Institute was established in 1964 to support and encourage botanical artists.

I was impressed by the care taken to depict the most minute details of even the drabbest of plants. While there are floral showpieces among the works, notably a luminous Hydrangea by Gael Louise Sellwood (United States, detail shown above), I was strongly drawn to a number of portraits of rather weed-like plants, such as the winged sumac and Queen Anne's lace by Lara Call Gastinger (United States), rose hips by Denise Roxanne Walser-Kolar (United States), a selection of oddly formed heirloom tomatoes by Asuka Hishiki (Japan, top), and curly dock by Barbara Klaas (United States, bottom).

Well worth a visit. The Petaluma Arts Center is at 230 Lakeville Street, Petaluma, CA, 94952, in Petaluma's Historic railroad station (707) 762-5600. Open 11:00AM to 5:00PM. Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

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