Betsy Perkins: Beauty shots = night time in the garden

This week’s Beauty Shot Friday highlights our current exhibition Reclaimed, which focuses on contemporary artists and how they find inspiration in nature and question our relationship to it. This week’s question was: How have you personalized and/or reclaimed your outdoor space?

Betsy Perkins’ photo strikes me as interesting because it features a flower but at nighttime. The radiance of flowers would normally  be dimmed by an evening photo shoot, but Betsy overcomes this typical pitfall rather seamlessly. The bright hues of the flower against the dark background and the soft dimensions of its petals in the amber light create a fantastical and tropical aura. A reclamation of the evening, I enjoy Betsy’s photo.

Bev Faglione’s photo speaks to me directly about one of the themes I found while walking through Reclaimed. Our relationship with the natural world is one of co-dependence yet as much of nature as we use and rely upon, it’s harder to keep a balance between useful consumption, waste and environmental ruin. We need nature’s products and mechanisms to survive but, as a society-local and globalized, we are constantly consuming more than we are conserving. Bev’s photo reminds me of this fractured relationship. However, it also reminds me we can do better and owe it to ourselves and to the environments in which we live. Hopefully, we can all wear the transcendent and serene smile of the sculpture featured on Bev’s gate and, like Bev, take a moment to breathe and enjoy our local outdoors.

Bev Falgione: Every morning it reminds me to breathe and take a moment for myself. (Adding texture and serenity to an otherwise harsh cedar fence)

Bev Falgione: Every morning it reminds me to breathe and take a moment for myself. (Adding texture and serenity to an otherwise harsh cedar fence)

When I was a kid, I was lucky enough to have a grandmother who firmly believed in “grow your own” and “food not lawns” ideals. She grew everything from potatoes to raspberries to garlic to carrots to flowers. Our dinners always contained multiple ingredients from her garden’s harvest. It seemed like magic to me. Later, I helped start a garden in an unused lot of land at my high school. Gardening is personal to me and I think a lot of people believe it is a complicated endeavor. It can be difficult depending on where you live and what you’re trying to grow, but what I absolutely love about Axitia’s photo is that it communicates some of the ease of gardening and relaxes the notion that gardening is an inaccessible or highly-involved activity. Lawns have become a typical component to our conception of a house but I think gardens are genuinely more natural. Axitia’s photo illustrates how reclaiming your lawn for food production is actually quite simpler—maybe even simpler than maintaining a lawn.

Axitia Mode: Wild vegetable porch.

Axitia Mode: Wild vegetable porch.

I selected Chau’s photo as a closing because of the tranquility and unity it displays. I love how the woman (who I believe is Chau) is reclining in the dewy grasses while gazing at the sky while mountains, snow, and sunlight fill the background. This photo makes me think of Beauty & Bounty’s tag line: Come stand in awe. I see this photo and wish I could walk out my office door and start hiking, only to lie down on the ground amidst snowy mountain tops in the summertime where I’m imagining beauty and bounty is king and breathing is ultimate serenity.

Chau Dang: I reclaim my outdoor space by climbing mountains and breathing.

Chau Dang: I reclaim my outdoor space by climbing mountains and breathing.

As always, please continue to send your photos (and captions) to beautyshots@seattleartmuseum.org. New questions will be posted on SAM’s Facebook Page every Monday by 3 pm and submissions will be uploaded every Friday by 4pm. Once uploaded, please tag yourself in your photo. This week’s question asks: What does “the West” mean to you?

Top photo: Betsy Perkins: Beauty shots = night time in the garden.

 

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