Flora in Winter

Posted by uconnladybug under Gardening

Even though this hasn’t been a particularly brutal winter so far, the sights and scents of flowers are a welcome diversion from the muted, bare winter landscape. For me, this usually means a trip to Logee’s Greenhouse in Danielson as well as an excursion to view the spectacular floral displays at Worcester Art Museum’s exhibit, Flora in Winter, which was held this past weekend, January 23-26, 2020.

For those unfamiliar with Flora in Winter, it consists of dozens of fantastic floral arrangements that are created to interpret the museum’s various works of art including portraits, paintings and sculptures. This is the eighteenth year this floriferous exhibit has been held and its theme is ‘Epic Bloom’, influenced by the current museum exhibition entitled, ‘Photo Revolution: Andy Warhol to Cindy Sherman. As you might imagine, very bright colors were encouraged by this theme and brought excitement to typically stoic corridors and common spaces.

Not only could visitors gaze at two dozen of the most gorgeous, and sometimes evocative, floral creations orchestrated by some of the region’s top floral designers but there were several dozen more floral designs created for this event by local florists and garden clubs that were displayed throughout the museum. Even the restrooms were enlivened with flowers.

Every floral creation was awesome. The ability of the floral artists to integrate their containers, flowers, leaves and other horticultural materials while using their creations to interpret a piece of artwork was truly amazing. Each one was a masterpiece and all were my favorites.

Among some of the more intriguing works was this interpretative design by Sandra Tosches of the Greenleaf Garden Club of Milford, MA representing an untitled work by Morihiro Wada (2000) who used natural materials to create contemporary ceramics of intricate abstract patterns.

The yellow lilies and woven leaves give the arrangement by Thelma Shoneman of the Acton MA Garden Club a crowning sensation much like the elaborate crown worn by this Grecian goddess possibly Aphrodite (510-480 BCE). Accessories to the main bouquet in peachy-pink give a feminine touch to this powerful figurehead.

Daintiness and femininity prevails both in this 16th century portrait, Woman at Her Toilette by the School of Fontainebleau (1550-1570) and in Kim Cutler’s (Worcester Garden Club) interpretation of this intimate portrait. At first glance, her arrangement almost appears to be floating in air, a delicate and airy bouquet of old-fashioned roses, calla lilies and ammi. The pussy willows trail down like strings of pearls. As the designer states, “In my design, I hope to capture her delicate beauty as well as suggest her status as a “kept woman”. The glass case illuminates this well.

Vibrant colors demand attention. The black and red battle attire of Benedetto Falconcini, Bishop of Arezzo by Pier Leone Ghezzi (1702-1706) are repeated in designer Mary Fletcher’s (Worcester Garden Club) striking yet somber arrangement. Note the curled flax leaves and the dark blue vase. Golden accents in her floral creation pick up the golden halo while a tipped arrow piercing the arrangement pair with the bow and arrows in the bishop’s hands.

Another dark but alluring piece was the interpretation of Francisco Corzas (1967) Self Portraitby Kathy Michie, also of the Worcester Garden Club. I wish I had been better about noting the flowers and greens used in the arrangements as I believe the large red/white bicolored blossoms to the right are amaryllis but am not sure. Regardless, it is a wonderful interpretation as if you squint to limit your vision, the same colors prevail on both the artwork and the floral creation.

This is but a small sampling of incredulous amount of talent, thought and creativity that goes into this incredible floral and artistic exhibit open to the public each January. Mark your calendars for next January and join me in welcoming Flora in Winter at the Worcester Art Museum.

Dawn P.