Kirstin Lamb and Mary Kocol at Suffolk University Gallery

Suffolk University Gallery is pleased to present Dreaming Flora: Artists and Flowers.

June 11 – July 22, 2024
Opening Reception: June 13, 5:30 PM

Suffolk University Gallery
Sawyer Building, 6th Floor
8 Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108

Gallery Hours: Mon – Thurs, 11 am – 3 pm

Suffolk University Gallery is pleased to present Dreaming Flora: Artists and Flowers
June 11 – July 22, 2024.

Speaking of Flowers – Gallery talk with the artists about their love of flowers on June 13 at 5:30 PM followed by a reception at 6:00 PM

“Flowers are often seen as symbols of growth, transformation, and renewal. In dreams, they can represent the journey of self-discovery and personal development. Dreaming of flowers blooming or witnessing a garden in full bloom can signify a period of flourishing and expansion in one’s life.”

Flowers are evocative for cultures around the world. They remind us of both joy and mourning, of human frailty, of death. One thinks about the 17th century Dutch obsession with tulips, beautiful paintings of flowers as warnings of Vanitas. They have rich cultural history as symbols and motifs through many genres of art, including as still lifes and botanical studies. The artists in this exhibition work in a variety of medium and often evoke earlier response to the natural world. 

Participating artists:

Mary Kocol
The Botanica series is a contemplative look at the garden, as a timeless place to dwell, refresh, and think about the profound yet fleeting beauty in the plants around us. Exquisite and luscious details instill wonder from simple garden flowers. I’m fascinated by the colors, scents, textures, and details of plants – they are fragile and ephemeral yet return year after year.  I grew most of these myself, or they came from friends and family gardens. All of the plants have been grown in a typical New England garden. These images are Scan-o-grams, made without a traditional camera. Instead, the plants are scanned in high-resolution using a film scanner to capture high level of detail, evident in the large archival inkjet prints, revealing the shadows of something; the plant material is arranged on the glass scanner bed, the scanner’s beam gives even illumination, capturing the objects as they lay on the glass. My inspirations include the iconic floral still life paintings of the Dutch Masters; as well as the traditional Japanese tea hut wherein one blossom is displayed to contemplate the current season; and the Bird-and-Flower scrolls of Ito Jakuchu from the 1700s.

Vaughn Sills
When asked, I’ve said I understand the symbolism and the metaphors, and I can imagine stories – a young family torn from their homeland, crossing to a new place, brought in and nurtured (flowers on one stem, the vase, the sea, the shadowed stormy sky all so meaningful). A cluster of young women, dressed in their finery, the party ends, tragedy strikes (fluttery orange flowers, drooping petals, an elegant and fragile vase, a sweet sunset under dark clouds). But truthfully, for me, each photograph is not a story, there is no beginning or end. Each photograph is more like a poem – a moment, an image, metaphor. And in each one, I feel both joy and sorrow, intertwined – just as I do in my life.

Robin Reynolds

My work brings beauty to the table. Painting en plein-air, I create lush, luminous, layered
surfaces in my garden. My senses are heightened to color, texture, light, and smell. I dive into the tangled life cycles of plants and flowers with energetic mark-making, exuberant color and line, intuitive looking, layering, and wiping. It’s a meditative, spiritual process. I want people to experience that heightened awareness and see beauty in our vulnerable environment.  I like my garden wild and unstructured, both flowers and the messy, jumbled parts. I start by planting for how I’ll want to paint: colors, heights, when things bloom, where my easel will be. My garden has become my subject and my sanctuary.

Kirstin Lamb
I call the gridded high-detail paintings on transparent acetate embroidery paintings. I began creating these paintings primarily for inclusion in my textile-influenced installations and the practice has grown to include stand-alone artworks and works influenced by my studio and installation. Many of the embroidery paintings I have placed in installations are images of floral wallpaper cropped from French wallpaper of the 17th, 18th and 19th century. Much of the other paintings in this group were made using vintage embroidery patterns from the 50s, 60s and 70s or generated from my own photography, primarily of landscapes and portraits. In order to paint the images that are not already patterns set on a grid, I generate a digitized grid and paint each gridded stitch by hand with acrylic and acrylic gouache on Durarlar (wet media acetate).

Amy Laskin
My paintings often focus on an anonymous nonrepresentational figure comprised of natural elements and unusual combinations. I am interested in decorative language and the assemblage of forms which are placed in situations existing in a natural worldly environment. Ostensibly, these combinations are of a surrealistic and mythical nature presented in a cogent way to suggest something phantasmagorical.