Inflorescence is a project that collaborates across mediums to celebrate our thriving local flower community here in Maine. It is a series of paintings, based on floral arrangements created by a handful of innovative designers, across the course of this growing season. I hope to expand the project in the future, but here is where I’m starting from.
The word inflorescence refers to the pattern and process in which a flower takes shape. There is a growing movement in floral design away from rigidly imposed ideals, towards emphasizing nature’s role and the influence of seasonality, temporality, and imperfection. Similarly, we need to reassess the way we consume and value flowers — too often they’re relegated strictly to special occasions, but they can bring a bit of nature and temporary resilience to our daily lives. Flowers play vital ecological roles, and should be considered not extra, but essential.
The global floral market has a huge ecological footprint, with flowers sometimes boarding planes more than once before reaching consumers, compared to the beautifully sustainable option of locally grown. Local designers and growers move mountains for these stems, and yet the environmental impact is nothing so drastic — things return to the earth not far from where they began, with minimal chemicals, primarily irrigated by rainwater. My paintings, created in conversation with these floral designers, will attempt to convey what makes locally grown flowers special.
I want to blur the lines between fine art, design, and the creative work that goes into farming. I hope to present an optimistic look at the future of making local, sustainable, and creative choices for our lives and our shifting relationship to the natural world. I hope you’ll follow along as I delve more deeply into the process of creating these paintings.
This project is funded in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.