Sex and Death, so intertwined with one another and yet so contradictory, will remain forever imprinted onto the deepest recesses of our sub-consciousness. Carnivorous plants are a fascinating vehicle for this timeless theme. Their visible adaptations to predation, are clearly symbolic of death, while their adaptations to enticing their prey, along with their exotic beauty, are symbolic of sex.
The photography collection exhibits the rare species and exotic hybrids of carnivorous plants that the artist has been personally cultivating since early 2003. These images represent the characteristics of the specimens, yet are much more than a series of static botanical profiles. The execution of the photography through composition, lighting, focal point, and tight framing bring movement, personality, life, and a narrative to these fantastic creatures. This is meant to bring the observer into the world of the plants from the viewpoint of their prey, and to create a window into a dimension of bizarre creatures and alien landscapes. The use of ideas and words, melding them with forms and images, seen in contemporary conceptual art, is of special interest in this work. As such, the photographs are titled to reflect the impressions which are meant to be conveyed upon the viewer when interacting with the pieces. This delves further into the subject matter of sex and death, creating the intense emotions of being seduced by these unusual creatures, and the morbid fear of becoming consumed by them. It is the expression and exploration of these most base, and primitive emotions that we possess; fear and lust, which represent the primary movement behind the concept of this series.
This project has also branched out to include the study of the native populations of carnivorous plants and their ecosystems on Long Island, NY, for an understanding of the conservation requirements for their long-term survival. While observing these specimens in the wild, the plants are photographed to portray them in their natural habitats. The subjects are brought to life by utilizing bold compositions and lighting, while clearly identifying the plant’s morphological characteristics for the interest of botanical purposes. By applying the subject matter of science, the work is meant to encourage the viewer to learn more about the subjects themselves. Bringing greater depth to the artistic project, and providing the opportunity for engaging education and conservation, through aesthetic beauty, in the spirit of a natural history collection.
(Note: for specimen identifications of photographs, please refer to plate index in The Sinister Beauty of Carnivorous Plants)
Long Island carnivorous plant habitat