A public garden & cultural center

Figuring the Floral

July 21 - December 01, 2019

Pictured above: Katherine Toukhy, For Nadia Murad, 2018, Paper, acrylic, watercolor, 37 x 19 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

A flower’s life cycle of budding, blooming and pollinating, as well as its process of decay, strongly echoes the human condition. The exhibition Figuring the Floral features artists who apply this symbolism to their work—touching on race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, aging and other facets of identity. Reflecting on the site-specificity of these works exhibited amid the flourishing gardens of Wave Hill, Curator of Visual Arts Eileen Jeng Lynch notes how the exhibition is enhanced by the visible and tangible connections with flora on the grounds.

While floral imagery is often associated with decorative art and femininity, Figuring the Floral subverts these notions—rather, artists complicate such limiting interpretations by relating these natural forms to deeper reflections of self. This group exhibition brings together artists who create new symbolism, some using flowers to alter or obscure the human form and others working in more abstract or literal modes of depiction.  The work includes collage, drawing, painting, photography, sculpture and an outdoor installation amidst the living foliage of the gardens. Exhibiting artists: Derrick Adams, Nicole Awai, Bahar Behbahani, Christian Ruiz Berman, Sanford Biggers, Cecile Chong, Max Colby, Abigail DeVille, Valerie Hegarty, Christopher K. Ho and Kevin Zucker, Diana Lozano, Natalia Nakazawa, Ebony G. Patterson, Bundith Phunsombatlert, Lina Puerta, Simonette Quamina, David Rios Ferreira, Alexandria Smith, Katherine Toukhy, Lina Iris Viktor, William Villalongo and Saya Woolfalk.

Pictured above: Ebony G. Patterson, reach…, 2018, cast glass, synthetic, silk and dried flowers, jewelry, in powder coated steel case, Dimensions variable, approx. 20 x 30 x 4 inches, series of 10 unique variants. Courtesy of Carolina Nitsch, NY.


Pictured above: Derrick Adams, Figure Walking into the Light 24, 2018, acrylic paint, pencil, and fabric on paper, 24 x 18 inches. Courtesy of the artist.


Pictured above: Sanford Biggers, Quo Vadis?, 2019, antique quilt, textiles, gold leaf, acrylic, spray paint, charcoal, 43 x 34 inches, 47 1/4 x 38 1/4 inches framed. Private Collection, NY. Courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen. Photo Credit: Object Studies.