Olivia Miller BFA Thesis Spring 2012
Plants & Flowers, Memories, Places, and Histories
In this paper I will examine cultural identity and place through the representation of plants and flowers relating to specific areas of personal significance. Plants and flowers that are exotic, as well as native, to places of my cultural background will be explored along side personal memories, histories, traditional medicinal use, and symbolisms tied to that place or flora. I will also reveal other artists, historical and contemporary, who have worked with flowers and plants as subject matter, such as Jan Brueghel the elder and other Dutch and Flemish painters of the seventeenth century, and those who work with detailed imagery like Aurel Schmidt, and Vija Celmins.
In this paper I will also discuss my visual thesis work which has the intention to convey memories of place and time, as well as autobiographical narrative through specific plants, flowers, and star charts alluding to feelings to familiarity, curiosity, and wonder. It is an awareness of the plants around us that informs us where we might fit in the time continuum between flowers, plants, and stars. That awareness is also dependent on memory; memory of our surroundings places us in time. The intention of the work being that the viewer is rewarded by spending time with the thesis visual work by pondering the specificity and engaging in a conversation with their own memories of place and time in relation to what they are visually experiencing.