Abstract: Botanical Spaces

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The “Botanical Spaces” series appeals to nature in the ways in which the works are made and in the images they present.

The series is built around what Rosalind Krauss called “indexical images,” that is, images constructed with the impression on the painting’s surface of real objects, which in my case are tree branches. The use of this kind of images can be traced back to pre-historic times, to the paintings in the Lascaux and Altamira caves, as well as to contemporary art, such as David Smith’s early paintings.

Unlike traditional landscapes, which typically represent a natural space, these images have as their leitmotif structures derived from nature but rendered in abstract configurations. Even if it is possible to recognize the presence of tree branches, their arrangements do not relate to “natural” habitats, but rather create a spatial logic similar to that of Cubism or to Jackson Pollock’s drips. These shapes inhabit a “shallow” space, where the eye can enter, but only up to a certain point, a space that disregards perspective and lacks a horizon or deep distances to be examined. The viewer is left, instead, with surfaces that present limited depths in allover compositions, rendered with enamel on paper.

Speaking of paper, the series also calls attention to one of Wisconsin’s most abundant natural resources, woods and trees, which constitute the raw materials for paper, one of the state’s main industrial products. In this way, the series proposes a close relationship between indexical images of tree branches rendered on paper and the place where the works were made.