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Artnet News
August 18, 2020
Top Contemporary Artists Put Their Stamp on Flower Paintings in This Beautiful Bouquet of a Group Show at Karma Gallery—See It Here
Caroline Goldstein

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Flowers of every size, shape, and color are a’bloom at the New York gallery.

Woody De Othello, Space for Growth, 2020, oil on paper, 22 ¾ × 30 inches; 57.79 × 76.2 cm

As galleries and art institutions around the world begin to reopen, we are spotlighting individual shows—online and IRL—that are worth your attention.

“(Nothing but) Flowers” at Karma
Through September 13, 2020

What the gallery says: “The flower persists throughout art history. It figures prominently across memento mori still lifes; huaniao hua bird-and-flower motifs; the intricate patterning of Mbuti bark cloths; the tendrils and palmettes of Islamic miniatures. Botanical symbolism spans libertine excess, Dionesian glut, and delicate innocence; it evokes vanity, fertility, and the mortal coil.

“Yet most essentially for the present day, the tending and gifting of flowers is steeped in cultural practice. As balms of solace and support during times of remembrance and growth, blooms connote the sharing of emotion, and are given in sympathy, love, joy, or appreciation.”

Why it’s worth a look: Walking around New York after dusk these days, it can almost feel like any other summer day, with lights draped across al fresco sidewalk dining rooms, dogs roving once again in grassy parks, and—yes—flowers blooming everywhere.

This show at Karma is the artful equivalent of that bittersweet haze: some of the flora are drooping, or shedding petals as they near the end of their season, while others are pulsing with color and life.

This group show—which includes works by Nicole Eisenman, Hilary Pecis, Peter Doig, Susan Jane Walp, and Henni Alftan, among others—features artists with as diverse backgrounds as the flowers they’ve committed to canvas, and is the perfect respite for a summer afternoon.

What it looks like:

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