When you think of “flora and fauna” what images come to mind? Do you see a pine forest, or maybe a coyote in the desert? Recently, I’ve been thinking about how the connection between nature and art spans art history, transcending trends and time. Take Monet's lilies, Audubon’s birds, O'Keefe's flowers, and Durer's plant studies as examples. Each artist came from a singular time and culture and created strikingly different interpretations, but all share common natural themes. Nature is a seemingly endless source of motion, line, and texture – it’s no wonder artists across time turned to their environments for inspiration.
I believe from the beginning of human history, nature and creative expression have been intertwined. Our surroundings—the streams, or fields, mountains, or oceans—affect how we view and interpret the world around us. And in turn, the art we create from nature’s inspiration becomes part of our personal identities. Feeling connected to nature is an ingrained human need, although in this day and age it’s easy to feel disconnected.
For the second post in my new "Like Minds" blog series, I'm focusing on three artists who explore themes of nature, but, in their work, specifically center on plant life: installation artist, Nuria Mora, floral designer, Natalie Bowen Brookshire, and painter, Anna Valdez.
Based in Madrid, Nuria Mora skillfully incorporates nature through her artwork, from public art pieces, murals, and installations, to small sculpture and 2D paintings. I love the way she contrasts the dynamic and delicate shapes of plants with colorful geometry and hard lines.
Natalie Bowen Designs is a floral and event design studio inspired by color, movement, and architecture. Led by Natalie Bowen Brookshire, the San Francisco studio uses seasonal flowers to create beautiful arrangements that are almost painterly in their composition and texture.
Anna Valdez is an Oakland-based painter, combining her background in anthropology and video to create colorful still lifes as an exploration of her own cultural identity. Often depicting complicated scenes of plants and fabrics in her studio, Anna's intricate use of color and pattern creates an inviting visual rhythm.
Read our last post, Like Minds : A Sense of Place, here. Be sure to check out the comments section from that post to see the work by other artists that were recommended.
Do you have an artist or designer that would fit this new blog series? We'd love to hear from you! Please share in a comment below.
This post was written by Heather Day and Hannah P. Mode. Edited by Katherine Holthouser.