Life imitating art imitating life

In last week’s post, I mentioned a recent exhibit my mother and I went to at the North Carolina Museum of Art. The museum has an impressive permanent collection, and each spring, florists descend upon the galleries to interpret works of art using flowers.

Though the exhibit is an annual four-day event, this was the first time for both my mother and me to see it, and I’m so glad we braved the crowds. I only had my cell phone with me, but I thought you might enjoy seeing a few of my favorites from my phone’s camera.

Calla lilies and one of my favorite paintings in the museum

In some cases, as with the arrangement above, I could easily see the inspiration for the colors and shapes of the blooms the artist/florist chose.

The ones I liked best were those that most closely interpreted the work of art in question.

Matching the flow of colors and the golden arch of the artwork

The museum’s Judaic art collection is one of my favorite “rooms” in the museum. I find it a serene, quiet, and beautiful space. This flower arrangement below resonated with me for the color and life it brought to the silver of its inspiration piece, a Sabbath lamp:

White orchids and white marble—a perfect combination. This interpretation blended the statue itself and its darker background paintings, one of the few arrangements to look beyond an individual piece of art for its inspiration.

I enjoyed other works of floral art simply for their choice of vessel and flowers—and maybe even the play of shadows across the base of the arrangement. On this day, orange flowers especially called to me.

A favorite color, a favorite orchid, and fun shadows adding interest

Every now and then, my mom and I would encounter one that was a head-scratcher. We didn’t quite grasp the florist’s vision, or the interpretation was off in some way.

For the one below, I wished the florist had shifted the whole piece around. From this angle, with the work of art in full view, it’s easy to miss the wonderful mirror of the arrangement’s top green vines and the heart-shaped element at the top of the painting.

I’d be hard pressed to name a favorite of the 53 arrangements we saw that day. But this one impressed me the most for its creativity and reflection of even the smallest details:

An impressive display

The piece of art that inspired it:

This panel offers lots of detail to inspire the florist.

The small panels at the bottom of the painting (known as the predella) provided the florist with an opportunity to do something wonderful and small, and to bring attention to the tiny details of those easy-to-miss images.

That closer look at the art is probably what the museum organizers had in mind. The arrangements are fascinating on their own, but they also encourage visitors to look around and notice details of the paintings they might otherwise overlook.

What do you think? Would you enjoy an exhibit such as this one, a show of life imitating art imitating life? Do you have a favorite painting you’d like to see a florist interpret with flowers? What flowers would you want to see used in its interpretation?

2 thoughts on “Life imitating art imitating life

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