Herbarium Obscura: Shadow of Nature

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Title Herbarium Obscura: Shadow of Nature
Creator Nancy Rivera
Description Nature is ephemeral, fragile, and wild. Over time, we have learned to tame and control it: We grow lawns, cultivate houseplants, and manufacture synthetic facsimiles of nature for aesthetic and ornamental purposes. In this way and more, we manipulate how we experience and understand it. In my exhibition Herbarium Obscura: Shadow of Nature, I employ real and artificial foliage to evince nature as a material and a motif. Therein, the installation piece Hedera Helix poses a familiar natural sight: a façade of dense, lush English ivy. Hiding within it are small, precious objects, each, evoking its own narrative of loss and human connection. For Herbarium, I documented a collection of leaf specimens using the cyanotype process, a photographic process popularized by amateur scientists and botanists in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. I created photograms using leaves that I gathered from the natural world and the commercial world of plant shops, and I included artificial leaves that I discovered in craft stores. I further blur the line of authenticity by incorporating inkjet prints that have supplanted a number of the original cyanotypes. Through this act, I question how technology informs our perception of the real. These pieces document our contemporary landscape and explore the dichotomies between the natural and the artificial, remembrance and loss, and the mortal and the immortal. At its core, my work aims to reveal the multilayered structure of the natural world and questions how modern technological advancements reshape our perception of it. I investigate these concepts through photography, sculpture, and installation.
Subject MFA Thesis Paper; Photography - Digital Imaging
Date 2016
Rights ©Nancy Rivera, 2016
Type Text
File Name 2016-NancyRivera-Thesis
ARK ark:/87278/s6t787zv
Setname uu_aah_mfa
Date Created 2020-12-09
Date Modified 2021-05-06
ID 1619419
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6t787zv
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