Friday, March 16, 2012

Flower Power - BOUQUETS TO ART

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BOUQUETS TO ART is an annual floral display and exhibition held in the galleries of the de Young Museum in San Francisco, California. Produced in the month of March by the San Francisco Auxiliary of the Fine Arts Museums, this five-day event is a feast for the eyes and attracts large and enthusiastic crowds from near and far.

At the BOUQUETS TO ART extravaganza over 140 of the most innovative and sought after floral designers create unique arrangements that pay tribute to specific art works in the de Young's permanent collection. Each floral interpretation is presented next to the work that inspired it.

Flowers: Tessa's Garden
Art: n/a

Flowers: Samantha Williams
Art: George Hitchcock, Tulip Culture, 1889

Since its inception in 1984, BOUQUETS TO ART has drawn over 600,000 visitors and raised nearly $5 million in net proceeds to help provide funding for an impressive array of special exhibitions at the San Francisco Fine Arts Museums throughout the years. These renowned exhibitions provide visitors the opportunity to view combinations of masterworks, that are presented on loan from the world's finest museums, such as the Musée d’Orsay, the State Museums of Berlin, the Vienna Kunsthistorisches Museum, and the Musée National Picasso.

AMALGAMATED PERSPECTIVES sent two of their team members to San Francisco to visit the 2012 BOUQUETS TO ART show at the de Young Museum. They just filed their report and sent in spectacular photographs.

Flowers: n/a
Art: n/a

Flowers: Ikebana International
Art: Frederic Edwin Church, Rainy Season in the Tropics, 1866

How do you interpret an interpretation? Answer: With flowers.

In its broadest sense art is a visual interpretation of what the artist sees, feels or imagines. Art may be expressed through different media, like painting, sculpture, photography, and in different styles, from realism to extreme abstraction. But regardless of what medium or style is preferred, the making of art as well as the looking at it is subjective, and therefore is a matter of interpretation.

Designers of floral arrangements are artists in their own right. The same principles apply to their craft. However, at the BOUQUETS TO ART challenge, the floral artists must take their cue from an already existing piece.
This is where a magical creative complexity comes in.
With flowers, leaves, grasses, berries, bark and other organic materials the floral designer adds his own interpretation to the original artist's interpretation of a particular theme or subject.

The results of this juxtaposition of floral art and fine art are simply amazing. While some floral arrangements painstakingly mirror the painted canvas in color, shape and detail, others creatively elaborate on the subject and seem to use the original art work as more of a jumping off point. There are some that are humorous. Many make their own distinct commentary rather than seeking to stick too close to the original.
A few had objects and elements added that are not plant based. In some arrangements the flowers had been spray painted. Several compositions incorporated fruits and vegetables, others shells and seedpods. Some of the flowers gave off a delicate fragrance. Designs ranged from bouquets to flowerbeds and flower covered sculptures, from the traditional to the whimsical.
Overall, the combined experience, imagination and skill of the participating florists was used to optimal advantage.
And then there are several outstanding arrangements which, were it not for the short lifespan of their flowers and delicate greenery, would well deserve to be permanent companions of the artwork that they are paired up with.

In the end, it all comes back to interpretation, the viewer's interpretation of the floral designer's interpretation of the artist's interpretation, all one big beautiful tapestry of ideas and impressions, as varied and colorful as the thousands of flowers in this unique bouquet, the BOUQUET TO ART.

Flowers: Belle Flora
Art: Albert Bierstadt, California Spring, 1875

Flowers: Flowers for all Reasons
Art: n/a

Flowers: n/a
Art: n/a

"I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers," Claude Monet


Photographs © AMALGAMATED PERSPECTIVES. All rights reserved.

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