Flower Power, the Site, Meets “Flower Power,” the Show

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How could we not cover an exhibition called “Flower Power,” at The Future Perfect? The artist, Christ Wolston, said he wanted to be a landscape architect when he was growing up in Providence, RI. With “Flower Power,” he has created a landscape of terracotta furniture inspired by the flora found in the mountains and forests of his adopted home of Medellin, Colombia. He also keeps a home and studio in Brooklyn.

At the center of the exhibition are 13 throne-like botanical terracotta chairs and benches—some textured with detailed ceramic casts of plants, flowers and wild fruit from the artist’s garden. They include heliconia, sunflowers, red ginger, birds of paradise, daisies, and blossoms from his banana tree. Some have exaggerated and enlarged flowers and leaves, sculpted, and molded by hand. Others are composed of abstract, gestural, or amorphous growths that are reminiscent of vines or adventitious roots.

Daisy Chain Chair – sold

The title, “Flower Power,” refers to the importance of flowers in the cultural life in Colombia, and its significance financially in the local and global economies. Colombia is the floral capital of the Americas, supplying roughly 75 percent of the cut flowers used in the United States,

Flower Power is also the phrase Allen Ginsberg used in 1965 to transform anti-war demonstrations into affirmations of peace and love. “The ‘flower power’ movement and its ideals—universal belonging, peace, love, unity, respect—are sentiments that I hope resonate throughout my work,” the artist said. “We still see the offering of flowers as a gesture of peacemaking.”

There are also two light sculptures in the show—an amorphous table lamp reminiscent of a log devoured by insects and woodpeckers and a hanging lamp with a bronze menagerie of abstracted blossoms and leaves reminiscent of a mango tree branch, with an opalescent glass orb blown in Murano, Italy. It is Wolston’s depiction of the wild vines that overrun his chicken coop.

Bronze casts of overlapping and interlaced flowers turn up again on wonderous tall vase shapes, globes, low open-work bowls, that Wolston calls Vessels of Life, all of which, like the chairs, are for sale. Daisies for him represent rebirth, new beginnings, innocence, purity, love, hope.

Earthly Delight Vessel No 9

Wolston was always fascinated with non-Western art traditions and attended a school in Ghana to learn them before going to the Rhode Island School of Design, where he got his BA in Fine Arts in 2009. He has long been recognized as a creative artist in other mediums and has done work for Dior and Fendi. It was a Fullbright grant that sent him to Columbia to study pre-Columbia ceramics.

He now has combined the technical prowess of his earlier training, and his new knowledge of craft to create elaborate molds of intricate plant forms and cast them in bronze or build them in terracotta.

Flower Power will be on display until June 30th at The Future Perfect

Photos by David Sierra

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–Linda Lee

Linda Lee is a former editor and reporter at The New York Times.