Nowadays, synthetic paints rule all. Sweeping landscape oils in baroque 18th century splendor can be inexpensively achieved through imitation paints which keep away fade and degeneration, at the cost of polluting the ecology they vividly capture. Though the push for the eco-friendly continues, albeit at a terminal pace, plant-based paints and dyes tend to be bundled in boutique packaging, listed at ungodly prices. In a bucking of the artificial, this summer the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum offers an exhibition that goes beyond the chemical-laden. “Presence of Plants in Contemporary Art,” which runs through September 17, is an exhibition that breathes, bringing the organic indoors.
As its title suggests, “Presence of Plants” lays out a roster of seven international artists who carefully manipulate and center thriving verdure into works that speak to our shared existence, our individuality and the natural world that sustains every facet of our lives. As a staging-ground, the Isabella Stewart Gardnercould not be more well suited. With its famous courtyard bursting with florals and greenery, the museum has long promoted all things horticultural in the arts.