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New Lauritzen Gardens exhibit displays geometric flower art

May 10, 2018

The Lauritzen Gardens, while well known for its botanical collection, houses a range of art exhibits within the visitor center, conservatory and outdoor areas. The most well-known of these in recent days is the Metamorphosis exhibit, which has been on display since January and has run through the spring. However, there is a smaller exhibit that is often overshadowed.

Widespread Flowering is a collection of paintings and drawings by Ann Brugenhemke, all depicting nature. Located in the visitor and education center, this simple display is easily missed by anxious visitors on their way to the conservatory. However, a close look at the pieces will reveal a world of detail. Most of the works are in unrealistic color schemes and all focus on what Brugenhemke calls a “nucleus of importance”. Fine, distinct brushstrokes form the veins of flower petals and there is a purposeful use of negative space.

Another unique aspect of this exhibit is the use of geometry. Many pieces have rigid shapes and lines that overlay the organic, soft forms of flowers and leaves. The artist also utilized the passage of time in her exhibit. The canvases are hung on walls that form a loop. The moment one painting would leave your line of sight, a new one appeared around the corner. There was a continuity in the display that created the illusion that no time has passed.

It is easy to get lost in this display, no matter how mundane it may seem in comparison to all the other sights to see at the Gardens. There is a specific, captivating kind of beauty in these simple paintings and sketches. The exhibit is only open until mid-June and the works are all for sale, so it is in your best interest to venture to the Gardens soon to see the exhibit, as well as the botany decorating the grounds.

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