Monday, March 10, 2014

Flower Show 2014

Having been a Philadelphian for several years now I find it surprising I had actually never been to the Philadelphia Flower Show, a showcase of bursting colorful flora in contemporary design.  This year I finally made the time to take in this exhibition of living medium.  I have always worked with painting, drawing, and metalsmithing, but I have never dappled in the botanical arts.

                So I ventured into the dimly lit convention center with an open mind to be met with a floor to ceiling floral sculpture.  Reminiscent of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, these structures were saturated in color and made up of several types of plant life that blended together effortlessly to give the illusion of soft pillow-like structures.   It was a wonderland of a garden that we could walk through and interact with,  a 360 degree installation that keep me in awe no matter which way I turned my head.

                Moving away from the show-stopping structure that stood immediately in the doorway, you were able to mill about different exhibitions that all focused on the floral medium.  To the right of the entrance we were able to look at black and white project concepts jump from the flat, untelling, restraint of the sketchbook into the tangible universe where all the facets of its design could be fully appreciated. 

                What I really enjoyed of the show were the installations based off of famous artists, such as Van Gogh, Mondrian, and Kandinsky.  Artists for centuries have drawn inspiration from nature so it was delightful to see the role reversal and have nature channel these artists.  In a similar realm of creativity I was thrilled to see student work at such a large public show.  We always see the polished professionalism of veteran art works but rarely get to see the humble beginnings of an artist’s portfolio unless it is sought out at student shows.  The student work that particularly drew my attention was of course the jewelry made out of items found in nature.  These works were based off of designers such as Valentino, Chanel, and Tiffany and Co.  It was incredible to see a vibrant red brooch give the illusion of lace with the use of a colored skeletal leaf.  As well as the use of painted poppy seeds used to create intricate beaded work in the series based off of Faberge Eggs.




                                     




                Another aspect of the show I appreciated was that they brought it back to gardening basics of the ostentatious displays in the showroom.  In the “PHS Hamilton Horticourt”, there was just a focus on the beauty of growing healthy happy plants.  It was segregated by plant, with information of how each of the plant was judged.  This was a simple and clean display of the nurturing of nature for those that enjoy the hobby of gardening and were not there for the avant-garde world of design. 

                Overall I was truly impressed by how much was squeezed into the showroom.  There was a little bit for everyone, and the show keep switching gears to keep it fresh and new.  I constantly felt like I was switching rooms when going from display to display because of how different each exhibit was.  One moment I was looking at a desert themed Subaru display then I turn around and see a Zen inspired bonsai showcase.  I can honestly say that I didn’t get tired like I do at craft shows because there was no repetition.    However, my criticism of the show was there were a lot of elements that did not fit with the theme of the show.  Such as the indoor market, I felt was really tasteless to have people selling clothes and bags at a flower show.  It cheapened my experienced to be corralled right into a pop up market after seeing such incredible, beautiful, well thought out things.  With that said I did thoroughly enjoy myself and very much do look forward to next year. 


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