Culture Photography

Big City Culture – a heady dose of art and flowers

A trip to the big city to witness art imitating art.

My hosts, affectionately known as Hey Hey and Ro Ro by families and friends.

Raleigh and nearby Research Triangle Park draw cosmopolitan talent like our friends Heyward and Caroline. What a nice surprise to receive their invitation to Art in Bloom 2021 at the North Carolina Museum of Art on June 6.

‘Twas a joyful vibe at the museum and we dove right in to absorb the colors and the light.

Here’s how Art in Bloom works: Flower artists choose a painting or other object from the museum’s permanent collection and create a floral arrangement that dances with, or mimics the piece.

Some entries are stand-alone creations unassociated with a work of art, like this giant arrangement meant to evoke, “the feelings of freedom and movement and the excitement of sailing.”

A Swan Attacked By A Dog – Oudry

I stood in front of “A Swan Attacked By A Dog” trying, and failing, to imagine how I would depict this mesmerizing pair in blooms.

Jean-Baptiste Oudry totally captured the frightening fierceness of the terrible swans who lurked in the rushes at the end of the street behind my childhood home on City Island. The dog doesn’t scare me at all, and I have no doubt who will win this battle.

Watering Horses – Stearns

Bucolic as heck, this was another picture I got myself tangled up in. Two horses of entirely different temperament — one placid, one a spook — and their languid handler on a fine summer day. I love how the bay is washing out his mouth, sticking to the business at hand, while the black fixates on something across the pond, prepared to prove his spirit.

In pursuit of love and hope
Hmmm . . .

I found the art aficionados nearly as captivating as the art.

In pursuit of meaning

Heyward laughed out loud when he saw this painting. “It’s 2020!” he said and so I asked him to take my picture with Caroline as proof of our endurance and survival.

A mirrored box drew us like moths to a flame.

Inside, a flurry of pulsing light threatened to run away with our eyeballs. The experience reminded me of my Nana’s kaleidoscope. My brothers and I would point it to the sky to maximize the colors.

For whatever reason we had no such toy at home and I suppose the drive to see my grandmother and the anticipation of finding the kaleidoscope there made it all the more fun. The art museum is like that, a box of toys just waiting to be played with a mere thirty minutes from home.

Meanwhile, there was a bonsai exhibit happening outside.

Ro Ro captures the pond lilies.
Ummm . . .

Artist Diane Makgill explains how her arrangement was inspired by the painting below.

Forward, by Jacob Lawrence, in which Harriet Tubman ushers escaping slaves through the Underground Railroad.

You come, you see, you are wowed by the colors, you get caught up in images of horses and whatnot, but it isn’t until you encounter one of the artists that you realize all the thought and wonder that goes into every piece.

How fortunate I am to live so close to Raleigh and for friends like Caroline and Heyward!

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.

2 replies on “Big City Culture – a heady dose of art and flowers”

Wow what a neat exhibit! I would’ve loved that. For the dog painting, I would’ve had a bunch of Venus flytraps sitting amongst little white snowdrops or Lily of the Valley (your fave!).

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