BARRYVILLE, NY — “This is not your typical show that includes photos of beautiful flowers,” said ceramicist and gallery owner Nonna Hall. The upcoming show, she said, will be …
BARRYVILLE, NY — “This is not your typical show that includes photos of beautiful flowers,” said ceramicist and gallery owner Nonna Hall. The upcoming show, she said, will be “very interesting and unique.”
It is both about the image, as one would expect at a gallery, and an introduction to the artistic process.
“Pressed in Light: Flora of the Catskills” will be displayed at Nonneta and Friends Creative, 16 Old Brook Rd., from Saturday, September 10 to Sunday, October 2. There will be a reception at 3 p.m. on September 10 at the gallery.
The exhibit showcases the artistic collaboration of photographer Kaitlyn Danielson and florist and flower gardener Leslie LeFranc.
“We both greatly admire what the other does,” said LeFranc. It would combine “Katie’s use of analog photo processes and my love of growing and cultivating and foraging local flora.”
Flowers are embedded in LeFranc’s life. “I’ve been a flower grower for as long as I can remember, and transitioned from full-time graphic design to flower farming about four years ago.”
The show offers her “the opportunity to use flowers differently, giving them a permanence I can’t otherwise achieve through my wedding and editorial work. Pressing flowers, like the Victorians did… [is] a kind of permanence, much the same way analog photo processes preserve the floral images indefinitely.”
For “Pressed in Light,” LeFranc has collected local botanical specimens by foraging and personal cultivation, Hall said. “To maintain the natural movement and integrity of each plant, she carefully places them in a handmade press, where they… rest for months to years at a time.”
And then there is the photographic aspect of the exhibit.
“In terms of the photo process, I am very aware of the symbolism involved with using pressed flowers/botanical specimens,” said Danielson.
And “I think it’s important to highlight the work of Anna Atkins here in particular, as she is one of the most influential figures in popularizing the documentation of botanical specimens using a photographic process.”
Atkins, a botanist, was one of the first known female photographers, Danielson said. “In the 1800s, she used the cyanotype photo process to illustrate a book of British algae for her scientific research. As a female photographer, I am honored to be following in Atkins’ monumental footsteps.”
For this exhibit, Danielson took a different tack. “Leslie and I are using the lumen print process, a newer form of photogram on gelatin silver paper. Atkins would have relied solely on sunlight for her cyanotypes, but Leslie and I have experimented with exposing some of our prints under Leslie’s UV grow lights in her flower studio.”
The collaboration began as a friendship, she said, “and stems from our shared love of the natural world and the profound beauty we find in the landscape that surrounds us. With Leslie’s background in graphic design and my eye as a contemporary photographer, we take unique artistic liberties in the display of the plant specimens we use. Hopefully Anna Atkins would approve!”
That creative process will be part of the display.
Gallery owner Hall is looking forward to the exhibit.
Nonna and Friends Creative has only been open for a few years, but Hall has been involved with the arts for years.
“In 2015, my husband and I moved from Brooklyn to Eldred,” Hall said. “We both were so inspired by nature, by the quiet life. And for me it was very important to have my own studio in my house. However, that studio space became too small too fast. I needed more room to display my work and have a place where I could teach group classes, because I started to have too many private students” in the small space.
So in 2019, she opened Nonneta and Friends Creative, a pottery studio, gallery and gift shop.
The goal is to display “not only my own work, but also show art by my many talented friends, who live all over the U.S. and the world,” she said.
Nonneta and Friends Creative isn’t fancy or famous, she said, but it brings together artists and their art, and those who could appreciate it, could learn something. It opens opportunities for all.
Hence the upcoming exhibit.
“Highlighting the simple yet profound beauty of local plant life,” Hall said, her friends “hope to spark awe of the natural world and the responsibility we have in protecting it.”
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