Apache Plumb with Ledge by MaryFran Cardamone.
MF Cardamone’s ethnobotanical mixed-media works on paper inventively record the histories of plants. Her specimens are collected and combined with images, symbols, and words that utilize and update the methodical traditions of specimen mounting and botanical illustration known as herbarium sheets. The results are complex visual narratives that reveal the science, history, and uniqueness of their subjects; her work is a place where tradition and contemporary culture meet and art and botany blend. Original pieces are produced in small editions and printed on 100% cotton rag watercolor paper using archival inks and are individually embellished by hand.
Shortly after completing the Horticulture Program at the Barnes Foundation Arboretum School, MF started designing a native Pennsylvania wildlife habitat garden at her home. While researching and collecting native plants, she became fascinated by their cultural significance and medicinal uses, noting that she “…wanted to document the information and create work that would be both entertaining and educational.” Her inspiration and influences combine various interests, including: medieval herbs and manuscripts, botany, calligraphy, ecology, folklore, ethnic and vintage designs, traditional Chinese medicine, Pop Art, and Surrealism. Combined in one piece, these aspects of her research often create humorous or quixotic results and motivate us to try to ‘read’ the work, to build connections. MF explains, “Compositionally, I juxtapose elements, so the work becomes like a visual puzzle that evokes a sense of wonder and mystery in the viewer. Because that is the way I feel about the natural world. I’m in awe of its beauty and its power to sustain and heal.”
You can find more of MaryFran’s art at Meyer Gallery in Park City. www.meyergallery.com