Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cummer's New Exhibit Features More Than 100 Photos of Plants and Gardens; by Charlie Patton

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cummer's New Exhibit Features More Than 100 Photos of Plants and Gardens; by Charlie Patton

Article excerpt

Byline: The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens has always been a place that celebrates garden spaces.

Ninah Cummer not only left land, money and 60 art works she had collected in her lifetime, she also left three beautiful gardens that had been one of the focuses of her life and career. She had a great love for cultivated landscapes.

So its entirely appropriate that the new exhibit at the Cummer, "In the Garden," takes as it subject cultivated landscapes and the flowers and plants that fill them. The exhibit features more than 100 photos of flowers and gardens from the George Eastman Museum.

But, in an ironic twist, "In the Garden," for which planning began several years ago, arrives at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens at a time when the Cummer's iconic gardens, battered by Hurricane Irma, need to be extensively reconstructed.

The George Eastman Museum, which is named for the founder of Eastman Kodak Company, is the world's oldest museum dedicated to photography. It has one of the world's largest collection of daguerreotypes, the first commercially successful photographic process. "In the Garden" includes an 1853 daguerreotype.

The exhibit is loosely organized into four categories, said Nelda Damiano, the Cummer's associate curator. They are botanical studies; photos of cultivated landscapes; photos of community gardens; and photos of people in gardens.

Nineteenth-century photographers were influenced by the ongoing artistic tradition of still life paintings, Damiano said. That influence continues today in some work. Sharon Core's 2011 inkjet print "1606" presents what Damiano called "a contemporary take on the Dutch still life," a striking image of fresh flowers carefully arranged in a vase.

On the other hand, there is Ori Gersht's 2007 chromogenic development print, "Blow up: Untitled 7." To create his image of a plant in a state of violent disintegration, photographer Ori Gersht treated the plant with liquid nitrogen and rigged it with explosives. Gersht took his photo in the instant after the explosion created a cloud of plant bits.

The exhibit includes some historic photos such as a shot of Claude Monet, a founder

of French Impressionist painting, sitting in a garden, just the sort of place he liked to paint. …

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