Strange Plants III
Plants can act as a symbols, personal representations of the world. Strange Plants is a project that celebrates plants in contemporary art; for the third edition the editor Zio Baritaux brought together 10 artists who take a unique approach to incorporating plants into their work: Synchrodogs, for example, de- familiarize the natural world by contorting the human body as it moves across isolated landscapes; Megan Marrin captures the life cycle of the foul-smelling corpse flower in her large-scale oil paintings; and Rosson Crow creates maximalist fantasias of desert plants. “What I love about painting the cactus is that it’s so architectural,” Crow says.
Caitlin Keogh, Chloe Wise, Robin F. Williams, Louise Bonnet and Marius Bercea, among others, contributed to the “Pollination” feature, each rendering a plant in their own aesthetic. Holly Coulis made a geometric abstraction of a still life in an electric palette; Joakim Ojanen sculpted a ceramic boy with a phallic plant; and Kara Joslynpainted a shimmering, sleek diptych of monstera leaves.
The photographer Ren Hang inspired the book’s final section, “Regrowth,” which features new work by 10 artists, including James Jean, Julie Curtiss, Kristina Schuldt andBrittany Asch. The photographs of Hang, who passed away in 2017, played an essential role in Strange Plants II — his images of friends floating in lily-pad-filled ponds at night added an eerie romanticism to that volume — and “Regrowth” is a modest attempt to pay tribute to his life and art.
“My hope is that this book continues the dialogue that the first two volumes began,” Baritaux says, “about how we understand nature and about art as a tool for interpreting and questioning our surroundings.”
The book was designed by Affaire, a design house in Barcelona. Flower petals and seeds loosely inspired the shapes on the cover.
Art in order of appearance: Synchrodogs on the cover of Strange Plants III; Synchrodogs inside Strange Plants III; Painting by Julie Curtiss; Photo by Synchrodogs; Photo by Synchrodogs; Photo by Synchrodogs; Photo by Synchrodogs.
(All book photos by Kiwi Bravo)