Featured Artists: Jamie Sweetman, Brooke Sauer, Kuan-Ju Wu, Andrew McGregor.
Botany and the Body features works embracing elements of the natural world and the human form. Imprints and negative spaces of leaves the color of cherry blossoms, which are supported by vertebrae-like structures, twist into sinewy branches in Jamie Sweetman’s illustrations located in front of the Nook’s floor-to-ceiling window. On the gallery floor below this work is Kuan-Ju Wu and Andrew McGregor’s animatronic sculpture, “Teenage Meadow,” as a mound of green reindeer moss that swells and decompresses like a breathing lung through hidden, robotically turned gears. The gallery walls as you enter the Nook display Brooke Sauer’s Prussian blue cyanotypes, which are meditational impressions of blue bodies holding hands, reclining in rooms, or harmoniously blending with the silhouettes of plants.
These works explore the interplay of interior versus exterior spaces relating to the body and nature. Singular and concrete meaning-distinctions—things, plants, people— dissolve along a single plane. The flattening of space in Sauer’s cyanotypes that depict mostly silhouetted vignettes merge together to suggest that nature is outside us and also built into our living systems. Sweetman’s intricate drawings interlace growing plants with internal organs and skeletal structures, making no distinction of their separation. The natural world is one ecosystem this exhibition showcases as tender, interconnected, and ecologically sound.
Herein the figure is as significant as its context: the diaphanous quality of Sweetman’s hard-edged illustrations suspended from the ceiling on 12 feet of translucent vellum blend with the surrounding gallery and natural light. Sauer’s pieces convey unexposed sections of her cyanotypes as ornate patterning throughout. Wu and McGregor’s robot is activated by presence and stops breathing with the viewer’s absence. These works highlight the context structuring compositions so that our role becomes nature’s role for the body. Botany and the Body proves we are such intimate moments existing as one.
Writings: Janna Avner, ed. Richelle Gribble | Photo Credit (below): Richelle Gribble