Art in Bloom 2018: Egypt

Let’s finish our floral journey in the Egyptian galleries. Let’s take a look at the two arrangements found there.

Inspired by the Jar, Black-topped Ware
By Susan Hooper

I looked at the arrangement for 10 seconds and left. Nothing Egyptian here.
(And you thought my Herakles critique was scathing.)

Inspired by Horus Falcon
By Carol Dowd

Delightful! Really fun floral design and well researched as well. I love how the upside down flower/plant was used to create the sculpted face of a falcon and how the leaves (petals?) look like feathers. He’s a rather chubby Horus, but he’s incredibly adorable! The designer really did some research about Horus and the association of his eyes with celestial bodies as well as Upper and Lower Egypt and the colours associated with them–this wins her extra points!  (Read the label.)  Horus is the winner this year!

Voilà! That’s it for this year’s ancient art inspired floral designs. It also seems that spring has final arrived in Raleigh. ‘Til next year!

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Art in Bloom 2018: Greece and Rome

Let’s go from Mesoamerica to the ancient Mediterranean with the floral arrangements inspired by works of art in the Classical galleries.

Inspired by Herakles
By Trisha Bettencourt

Dare I say it? Yes, I do. I’m disappointed.  It’s too easy to use white flowers to create a design inspired by a marble sculpture.  It works for an elegant Venus or Aphrodite, but for this statue? Nah.  It’s Herakles!!!  The guy has been plagued by Hera all his life and Eurystheus has given him 12 Labours that are so crazy as to appear impossible. He’s had a hard day, he’s exhausted and, here, he’s possibly drunk!  While I sort of see in the arrangement the club he holds in his right hand, those flowers and twigs are just too delicate to represent a mythological hero who’s just about had it…


Inspired by the Etrusco-Corinthian Neck Amphora

By Stacey Burkert

Ah! That’s more like it. Much better!  What is absolutely fantastic about this floral arrangement is how the colours of the flowers and plants actually match those of the rather colourful amphora. A perfect colour match! You really need to see the amphora in person to see these incredible earth colours. On the down side, those same autumnal colours also make the flowers look dead even though they are live flowers.  I don’t like dead flowers (dead leaves on trees in autumn, yes; dead flowers, generally not). So that puts a damper on my enthusiasm for this arrangement. However, the designer gets a gold star because she did exactly was she set out to do (read the label) and she did that to perfection.

In my next post, we’ll see what arrangements were placed in the Egyptian galleries. Stay tuned!

Art in Bloom 2018: Mesoamerica

It’s been an odd winter and it’s hard to believe that spring has sprung… Yet, that blooming time of the year has arrived at the NCMA!  Art in Bloom was held on March 22-25 and, of course, I attended with friends and took photos of the floral arrangements in my galleries. My personal impressions are below and I’m starting with the Mesoamerican gallery.

Inspired by the Standing Male Figure
By The English Garden

 

There’s always a first. In the past, I have always enjoyed the arrangements created for the works of art in this gallery, but this floral design does nothing for me. I really cannot feel the Mesoamerican-ness (yes, I just made up that word) with the combination of plants selected here. I don’t feel the earthiness, the traditions, the culture…  I don’t see or feel the warrior either… I just don’t.

Art in Bloom 2017: Mesoamerica

In my third and last post for Art in Bloom 2017, I’m sharing the floral design found in the Mesoamerican gallery.

Inspired by the Incense Burner
By Ailsa Tessier

It seems like all the floral arrangements ever designed for the Mesoamerican artefacts are always so elegant. This one is no exception. Inspired by the incense burner, you can almost see the smoke rising from the arrangement with the thin branches and the arum lilies in the vases in the back. With several vases, the arrangement has depth and texture fitting with the nature of the artefact and its purpose.  I like it.

And that’s it for Art in Bloom 2017!

Art in Bloom 2017: Greece, Rome and South Italy

In my second post about Art in Bloom, I am presenting the floral designs associated with artefacts from Greece, Rome and Greek colonies in South Italy.

Inspired by the Torso of Aphrodite
By Diane Joyal

Numerous people mentioned how wonderful it was that the designer had included a seashell-shaped vase for this arrangement.  I’ll admit that I did not even notice… because I was puzzled by the two vases.  The pale-coloured arrangement represented exterior forces of nature, while the darker one the ‘watery feminine domain of the inner world.’  I did not get it.  However, the roses and the myrtles are actually flowers associated with Aphrodite, so kudos for that.

Inspired by the Theatre Relief
By Erica Winston

I enjoyed the vibrant and contrasting colours of this arrangement, which, according to the label, matched the strong forms of the relief.  Considering that the relief is related to theatre, this is a great idea… although I do find that the forms in the relief are not that strong (especially when you see the relief straight on)!

Inspired by the Double Vase with a Central Handle
By EW Fulcher

Oh! This is my favourite of the ancient art inspired arrangements! Excellent work! I love how the designer replicated the shape of the actual artefact, but also mimicking the decorative lines painted on them. I would have loved to see pink flowers instead of the orange ones, simply to reflect the bright pink used on this wonderful South Italian vessel. It is such an astonishingly vivid colour! Okay, I’ll admit being somewhat biased because the South Italian ceramics were studied this fall and we’ll be analysing the bright pink pigment in the coming months!
This floral arrangement gets the ‘curator’s favourite’ ribbon!

Inspired by the Celestial God or Hero
By Steve Taras

I think it’s a bit too easy to use pale-coloured flowers to illustrate a white marble sculpture. Considering that the statue represents either Helios, the Greek god of the sun, or one of the Dioscuri–Castor or Pollux–the twins sons of Leda who are the patrons of sailors (who appear to them as St. Elmo’s Fire), also associated with horsemanship.  A bit more colour would have been appropriate and welcome.
That being said, Steve Taras won my curatorial ribbon last year with his spectacular mosaic of flowers… Not so this year.

And to end this particular post, l am adding another classically-inspired floral arrangement, but this one is neo-classical Roman goddess displayed in the European galleries. In this instance, the white orchids absolutely work, especially associated with the rattan structure that is both imposing and fragile. The design beautifully represents the goddess.

Inspired by the Venus Italica
By Carol Innskeep

 

The third and last Art in Bloom post will come soon!

 

Art in Bloom 2017: Ancient Egypt

This past weekend, the NCMA hosted its third annual floral fundraiser Art in Bloom. Once again, designers picked a work of art out of a hat and created a floral arrangement inspired by that artwork.  As I have done in the past, I visited the galleries for this colourful occasion and am presenting on An Archaeologist’s Diary the ones found in my ancient galleries.  Let’s start with ancient Egypt, shall we?

Inspired by the Inner Coffin of Djedmut
By Bonnie Mirmak

I must admit that this particular arrangement did not strike my fancy even though I like blue, indigo and purple flowers. The colours found on the coffin are reflected in the choice of flowers, but I found the arrangement too horizontal for such a tall and slim artefact. (Actually, the design made me think of a boat and there is an ancient  Egyptian model boat nearby.)  However, I did notice how some of the papyrus umbels were gathered and tied at the top and that reminded me of the white crown of Upper Egypt (Whether this was intentional, I did not know. The description references flowers found on coffins…)

Inspired by the Reclining Bull
By Avant Gardeners Garden Club

This was my favourite floral design in the Egyptian galleries.  I thought it was a wonderfully whimsical interpretation of the work–inspired not just be the colours but also the shape,  down to the horns! What made me smile was the little bell hanging from the plants gathered at the top.  A fun element that reminds us all of the bells around cows’ neck and the melodic sound of them moving around.  Nice job!  (And the club has a cool name, too!)

 

 

Art in Bloom 2016 (Etruria and Rome)

In this third and last post about floral designs inspired by ancient art, I’m presenting those found in the Classical galleries.  They include one Etruscan piece and four marble sculptures–the last one being my absolute favourite for 2016.

Inspired by the Antefix in the Shape of a Satyr’s Head
By Michael Whaley

While I can see the shape of the satyr’s head and his messed up hair in the floral arrangement, I have to admit that it did not inspire me one bit.  I didn’t like the use the of flat green leaves to create the shape.  However, by the comments I overheard, the design was pleasing to other people…

Inspired by the Bust of Marcus Aurelius
By Angela Marchesi

I liked this one, but I’m not quite sure why… The use of the red anthuriums brought a little regal touch to the composition and I liked the addition of the papyrus… (I think it’s papyrus… the name of the plants used the arrangement was not listed on the label.)  Marcus Aurelius visited Egypt (at the very least Alexandria) during the revolt led by Avidius Cassius. The designer also used thistles and although the Roman presence in Scotland was intermittent, I find the use of this plant interesting here (thistles were quite popular this year). To me, it sort of spoke of the width and breadth of the Roman Empire.  I wish the designer would have included a description of her design and she pulled inspiration from… me, I’m probably reading too much history in all of this!

Inspired by Torso of an Emperor in the Guise of Jupiter
By Sarah Callahan

This floral composition is wonderful and very imaginative!  The florist described her composition as the god Jupiter  gazing down at the emperor… you can totally see Jupiter in the tall column with its planet-like flowers and grasses.  The emperor would be the smaller column. Very delightful!

Inspired by Aeschylus
By Brian Hyde

DSCN4810I quite like this floral arrangement… the pussy willow branches have always been some of my favourite plants (they grew near my house when I was a kid).  The colour–a wonderful dark green–and the velvety texture of the composition are very soothing. It’s almost like the forest had become very Zen.  The arrangement is simple but very elegant.  It’s right up my alley.

However, I’m not quite sure I get the connection with Aeschylus, the Greek tragedian (he wrote between 70 and 90 plays, but only seven survive).

Inspired by the Mosaic
By Steve Taras

This last floral design is my absolutely favourite of Art in Bloom 2016!  It is wonderful in so many ways.  The use of the marble trays speaks to one of the materials in the mosaic and the colourful flowers are like the glass tesserae that create the pattern.  While the stems are cur short, the flowers are not crammed in the trays like sardines… they breathe… and they actually look like colourful cupcakes in an elaborate cupcake tree!  The levels and vertical lines are also reminiscent of Classical architecture.  The whole arrangement speaks to me… it is superb!

That’s it for Art in Bloom 2016.