PreRamble: In the recent WSJ Flower School feature, floral designer and writer Lindsey Taylor takes on the challenge of interpreting a piece of abstract 2-dimensional art using fresh flowers.
Clearly a romantic at heart, Taylor’s inspiration for the Valentine’s Day exercise is a painting (left photo) by German-born American artist Josef Albers (1888-1976) from his series “Homage to the Square,”
” …. the palette of this particular canvas evokes the way someone in love seesaws between restraint and recklessness: a core of stolid mud-gray grounds less “sensible” colors—moody claret and vibrant fuchsia … “
Building upon this yin-yang, Taylor chooses to buck the “over-familiar” red rose, and goes instead for a loose arrangement of deep pink roses and garnet carnations set off in a “somber gray bowl …” (right photo) … ” … a mix that brings depth to the rose’s hackneyed connotations of romance” and contrasts nicely with the highly structured lines of the painting.
How delightful to see the emotion of romance excavated from a piece of abstract art and transformed into the lovely medium of fresh flowers.
And, beautiful. Art is beautiful. Flowers are beautiful. The process (the struggling thinking part) of communicating the gestalt of a painting through a vessel of flowers is beautiful — and powerful.
The Take-Away: The thing about fine art and flowers and beauty is that they intersect and interact in great, unexpected ways. One of the best strategies for blasting out of your comfort zone and catalyzing new ideas is to tackle an atypical task … like interpreting a piece of artwork using flowers … or Fruit Loops … or bowling pins … whatever. This kind of playful, exploratory task forces us to be random and intentional at the same time. It lets us triangulate with the elements; get into the space between them. It lets us experience color, shape and space in new ways, and lets us make new connections, to create, to innovate.
In fact, I’ll go out on an art/innovation/science limb here and say that the interpretation float space between art and flowers is the same as the gap between a pile of parameters and an ah-hah moment … which are both kissing cousins with that teeny-tiny-quantum-energy-gap between electrons.
Note: The Minneapolis Institute of Art will host its 31st annual Art in Bloom event this May — 150 floral arrangements designed to interpret pieces of art from the MIA’s permanent collection.