My work is based on florography: the “language of flowers” developed during the Victorian Era in England. Folorograph initially became popular around 1846-1901, following the publishing of Kate Greenaway’s illustrated book Language of Flowers. The book provided common botany with symbolic representations, both negative and positive. Based on her book, while some flowers represent positive qualities such as beauty and fortitude, others represent negative emotions such as jealousy and grief. The floral imagery in each of my portraits does the same. Drawing inspiration from artists such as Robert Kushner and Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya, I created 22 x 17in digital portraits which address the positive and negative emotions that people have experienced during quarantine due to COVID-19. Each illustration is named after a famous Victorian author and botanical collectives, structures, and arrangements. These portraits take the form of prints because they are meant for mass consumption and are not personal to any particular person. My desire to prevent intimate familiarity is why the names of my subjects will never be revealed. Instead, through the similarities in iconography between each portrait, the viewer will determine if they are familiar with what each subject is feeling. Like the subjects of each portrait, they too are not alone in how they feel, which is a common belief experienced by many due to many months in relative isolation.
For my Spring show, I will complete fifteen to twenty portraits. I will continue to interview potential subjects over the coming months. I will also continue to work in this size because it encourages the viewer to move in close to capture each portrait’s detail. As for my gallery preference, I prefer to display my work in the Ildiko Butler Gallery because my portraits would have more exposure which is quintessential to their message. For my Spring show, I will also provide visitors to the gallery with a pamphlet or zine defining the symbolic interpretations of each flower to guide them through each portrait if they desire.