In its inaugural year, 2009, SEED was nine artists investigating the subject of seeds, in nine different mediums. Initially inspired by the stunning macro-photography of the book Seeds, Time Capsules of Life, the project has grown into an exploration of the importance of seeds, the environment and our place in it all.
The intent of this exhibit is summed up by Professor Sir Peter Crane, Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England: “The creative partnership between artists and scientists stimulates us to want to know more about seeds and how they work.…it also encourages us to see the glory of nature and to do what we can to ensure it’s survival into the future.”
SEED - The Movie - filmed and produced by Jeremy Jones and Mandy Stapleford
SEED - The Movie - filmed and produced by Jeremy Jones and Mandy Stapleford
SEED Artist Statements
Maybe because I grew up near the ocean, it feels to me that life begins there. I certainly remember the way it felt having a little being tossing around in my amniotic water and knowing that life was growing inside of me. Whatever the reason, I love to photograph water. Each summer when I visit my parent’s house I ritualistically stuff all my camera gear into a kayak, drag it down thru the marsh weeds and the stinky, mucky, mud and into the water. I paddle across Dickerson creek and photograph the garden of clams and mussels and the meadow of beach grass. It seems to me that this beach grows more beautiful and more magical each year.
And a few weeks later, when I return to my home in the high desert, far from the ocean, I am greeted with a bounty of homegrown food in my garden. And though that is rewarding, the real excitement for me is in the spring when I plant the seeds. I love to go out first thing in the morning to see if they’ve popped out of the ground yet. When I see a bent over seedling making its way up and out of the New Mexico caliche, I just want to kneel down and pat it on the back and say, “Way to go”! This is especially true for sugar peas. When they’re young they seem so fragile, just spindly little stems, some leaves and some very hopeful, and tenacious tendrils, that reach outward looking for support - something to hold them as they climb.
At some point toward the end of photographing images for this project I realized that this series is in many ways about my oldest daughter, the willow tree climber. Lucia will be nine in November. She, like a pea plant, is strong and confident as she reaches out growing and maturing. And like the beach, she seems to grow more beautiful and more magical each year. The last few images I created for this series were both with her and about her. She was the art director choosing both what to photograph and where, including the last portrait of her in the tree.
Thanks Lucia. I love you.
Listening to nature for the answers we seek, I see the huge potential of possibilities in the craggy crevices of seeds. Their hidden knowledge is still only hinted at on a large scale. Am I any closer to the truth that form translates emotion and knowledge?
It is ultimately a search for truth.
And seeds are the beginning.
The use of seeds as the inspiration for a set of pieces has been very fitting for my work. The suggestion of movement through space and time has been constants recently. As well as the concept of resonance through multiple reference.
In these two pieces the seeds metaphorical reference to the cycle of life is what I am attempting to express. The suggestion of movement through space, and the movement through time, allude to change and growth.
The suggestion of movement is an attempt to give vitality and life to the pieces. Movement is change. Change occurs over time, time is a cycle
Therefore the theme of the seed is fitting. I have been thinking about how seeds move about and interact.
The seed is many things for me. It is a beginning point, a starting point, for a live, an idea
Monuments to life
A search for truth
An attempt to create truthful objects
Seeds are a beginning and an ending, part of a cycle.
The gorgeous organic forms and vibrant colors of the SEED photos inspired me to find a new way of working in glass; as well as combining glass and felt into sculptural objects.
I am a gardening fool! I have saved seeds for years, exchanged them, grew them and harvested my own. So when I was asked to join the artists in Seed, the show it was a natural fit. I am fascinated with the flower, painting them large, bold and Red! Now I am exploring the seed, and my exploration has taken me to wo-man's Intervention in the seed production process. Producing 15 new paintings for the show I invite you to get involved with this question of wo-man changing and promoting our best idea of the perfect plant and the plants response to us.
What I’ve enjoyed most about participating in this show is that it’s pulled me out of my normal art-making comfort zone in process, medium and subject. I’m a potter and clay artist for the majority of the time and a printmaker on the side. My daily routine mostly consists of making three dimensional forms that function and all their inherent considerations. When I was asked to join the Seed exhibition with my prints it stunned me for a while and all I could see when looking at the book and all its imagery of form and color were three dimensional clay interpretations. These seed forms just lent themselves so beautifully to the clay medium. But… I was asked as a printmaker, so I fully realized the challenge.
I love printmaking because there is a three dimensional aspect to it. The embossment of the plate and all its intricate carvings into wet paper is not unlike stamping into a slab of wet clay. Liking the 3-D characteristic also led me to make printed pieces that were not mounted and framed in a traditional way, but incorporated with the framework and displays so that they became a part of the whole idea; one unit that, in the end, is considered more of an object than a framed picture.
My knowledge of the show and the book “Seeds” came as our garden was being conceived. We grew seedlings in our windows for the first time this year, to get a head start on our growing season. Because of my concentration on making work for the show I became more aware of the seeds we were planting and their process through spring and summer. Now that it is fall I am witnessing the next stage as these seeds have become plants that are now creating and dispersing their own seeds… continuing the cycle. A lot of the prints that I’ve created express my witnessing of these seeds, their plants and the garden, as a whole, throughout the last 4 seasons with all their interactions and interruptions of wind, rain, snow, sunshine, moonlight, birds, animals, insects and us.
Another inspiration for the work came from the idea of the book “Seeds” itself.
I wanted to make a piece that described my interpretation of what this book was doing to this almost invisible life form. By taking something not always visually considered, blowing it up, intensifying its color and floating it in a pool of light and contrasting background colors - it all of a sudden screams “Ta Da! Here I am on stage and in the spotlight for all to see.” The result for me was literally putting prints depicting seeds and nature on an actual theatre stage. As I was spending time building with Bristol board and working with paper as a medium, in general, I thought about the fragility, vulnerability and temporary nature that paper and seeds share…. not to mention that paper got its start as a seed.
In considering this show I guess you could say a seed was planted in my thoughts which has grown into a body of work expressing a different way of making, a new medium and a new subject. What a great experience it’s been and what a privilege it is to be an artist.
I can trace the origin of my art to my father’s garden in South Florida. From a very early age I was surrounded by the extraordinary colors and forms of tropical flora. The seed has always been the metaphor that holds my passion and understanding of the world.
When I came across the book “SEEDS” I was mesmerized by not only the beauty of seeds never experienced before but a greater understanding of the science and human parallel that exists.
The black and white drawings titled “Dispersal” were inspired by and done in homage to all the refugees of the world as I see their plight as a unintended dispersal but as in seeds their potential is always present.
The landscape, from the smallest seed to the grandest sky, is my inspiration. It is the metaphors of change, transition and emergence in the landscape that stir and guide me---from the sense of potential and emergence in the gestation of seeds to the gestural and transitory nature of the sky.
When I first saw the macrophotagraphy of the seeds, my heart skipped a beat. The forms were so sculptural and beautiful and represented the beginning of everything to me. The inspiration was immediate and I couldn’t wait to get my hands in clay and start interpreting what I saw and felt deep inside. I had never seen anything like these pictures, yet these shapes were so natural and familiar at the same time. To look at something so closely, to see what it’s made of, it’s pattern, color, texture and form, is to see the truth. Deep down, at our essence, we are all of the same. We have evolved from the same places and we are one considerable organism. When we protect our essence, we protect ourselves and our future.
As I compose these landscapes of regeneration with layers of found and saved seeds, with flower-hosts and transparent layers of paper, I explore surface. The topography of texture forms mini-habitats, which invite seeds to catch, to nestle, to land, and this is how abstraction mimics niche. I discover that as well as the distilled essences of life forms called seeds, there are seed syllables, lineage guardians, seeds of change.
The uncovering of source material in the process of doing this show could continue for the rest of my life.