Spent bouquets, living sculpture and botanical photogenic drawings spark a visual alchemical gallery conversation. Edward Peck’s large-format scan grams, Pierre Leichner’s wheatgrass sculpture and Phyllis Schwartz’ lumen prints toured five Vancouver Lower Mainland galleries during 2019 and 2020. They are artists whose practices contemplate the full cycle of natural growth and transitions that are in an ever-changing state. They use plant-based materials to create works of art that speak to issues of permanence and impermanence. They are choreographers and arrangers who have manipulated natural materials into compositions that challenge the viewer to contemplate time, form, and the ephemeral. Now a selection of their work is bound in book form with a gallery essay and artist statements. This Sassamatt publication is available in the Blurb bookstore.
Natural Alchemy, the first group exhibition, opened in early 2019 at Cityscape Community ArtSpace in North Vancouver. Then in April, Schwartz and Peck presented their work at the Lipont Gallery in Richmond, in a group exhibition under the name Formulation of Time in conjunction with the Capture Photography Festival. In late summer, Collaborative Alchemy then opened at the Outlet Gallery in Port Coquitlam. During this exhibition, all three artists provided workshops and presentations on their process and techniques. In November, the exhibition opened at the Amelia Douglas Gallery in New Westminster; during this show, the artist held seminars for individuals studying Fine Art. Finally in January, all three artists exhibited Collaborative Alchemy Plant Based Visual Art at Place des Arts Gallery in Coquitlam, where workshops were also presented.
Pierre Leichner, Edward Peck and Phyllis Schwartz are artists whose practice contemplates the full cycle of natural growth and transitions that are in an ever-changing state. They use plant-based materials to create works of art that reflect states of permanence and impermanence. They are choreographers and arrangers who have manipulated natural materials into compositions that challenge the viewer to contemplate form, time, and the ephemeral. Hybrid prints by Phyllis Schwartz are made by a contact printing process that leaves traces and shadows on photosensitive surfaces. Her lumen prints engage viewers on a primal level to look again and make their own meaning from ambiguity. Pierre Leichner uses plant roots and moulds in an exploration of our relationship with nature and the beauty of the life cycle. In his work, the roots of plants become sculptural forms. Edward Peck’s photography addresses the symbolism of flower arrangements and the transformation of meaning when they are discarded. He explores the beauty that extends beyond our utilitarian use of these obsolete floral arrangements.