Known for her vibrant, large-scale works featuring floral patterns and text, Natasha Bowdoin explores the potential intersections of the visual and the literary. Starting Dec. 22, the artist’s latest creation, In the Night Garden, will be on display at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. Using intricate yet sizable botanical forms, Bowdoin challenges our relationships with nature. The installation invites viewers to immerse themselves in a colorful world full of giant flowers, plants and insects, comprising three-dimensional layers of hand-drawn and handpainted cut paper. Because the oversized flora and fauna have been drawn directly on the wall and positioned as free-standing objects, the exhibition appears to be living and moving. Rejecting the typical feminine themes associated with botanicals, Bowdoin aims to emphasize the unpredictable beauty found in nature.
“For Sadie, Chrysanthemum (detail)” (2020, ink and flashe on paper)
Bowdoin’s collage-based work for In the Night Garden was inspired in part by her recent investigations of 19th century naturalist illustrations and floral dictionaries. Drawn to this era, during which science and myth held equal weight in our society’s understanding of the natural world, Bowdoin further explored the topic by studying Victorian works in the Carter’s library. Pieces from the museum’s permanent collection that relate to Bowdoin’s studies will be on view near her installation, such as Severin Roesen’s “Still Life of Flowers and Fruit with a River Landscape in the Distance” and Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Red Cannas.” With a dual degree in classics and studio art, it seems only fitting that Bowdoin has successfully used both literature and iconography to reimagine our relationship with the natural world. 3501 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth, cartermuseum.org
“For Maurice, Ranunculus” (2020, ink and flashe on paper)
Photography by: from top, photos: by kevin todora/courtesy of Natasha Bowdoin and talley dunn gallery; courtesy of Natasha Bowdoin and talley dunn gallery; courtesy of Natasha Bowdoin and talley dunn gallery