Opening Reception: April 19th, 6 – 8PM
April 12th, 2019 (San Francisco, CA) — Eleanor Harwood Gallery is pleased to present What Befell Us, our first solo show with Tiffanie Turner.
What Befell Us is a new body of large-scale botanical sculpture created by Bay Area artist and author Tiffanie Turner. Her new work, the heads of seven giant flowers, is Turner’s continued meditation on our tolerance of aging and imperfection, on what we consider ugly and what we consider beautiful, and on the high cost of these pursuits on our society and the natural environment.
Turner selects her floral specimens and the afflictions she would depict with them from a vast variety of flowers that appeal to her due to form, texture and color. She then pairs them with physical manifestations of imperfection, drawing from aging and deformities in plant life. The deteriorations evoke issues of climate change, from the effects of rising temperatures on pollen quality, drought, and damage to blossoms due to earlier and later frosts, all caused by rapid environmental shifts.
Turner turns to the personal infusing her worries about our looming global climate crisis with her own concerns about the value and perception of women’s faces and bodies as they age. The damaged goods of both aging women and flawed flowers ask the question “What Befell Us” at a personal and global scope. Turner’s investigations quite literally blow up the idea that damage is un-lovely. Her sculptures are undeniably exquisite, the products of intense labor, each head sculpted from hundreds (or thousands) of hand-shaped petals.
She asks, “Why do we wrap our most perishable fruits and vegetables in packaging that will pollute the planet for thousands of years?” and “Why did I become invisible when I turned 40, and at what lengths would I go to to turn back time?”. She sees parallels between the absurd pursuits of our culture that destroys our environment, and the absurd expectations she feels as a woman in this world. She further inquires, “Why am I ashamed to be older?” and “Why do people find these distorted and decayed flowers lovely, but find dry and sun damaged skin (the result of a full childhood) unsightly? Could this ever change?”.
The pieces in this exhibit depict what ugly, old, or abnormal would look like in the beautiful head of a flower. Some of the pieces are obviously decaying. Some are distorted by age and desiccation. One piece, a rose, arguably the planet’s sexiest flower, is sagging toward the floor, prolapsed as if its most private parts cannot be contained anymore. “Platinum Blonde”, a giant dahlia, is very irregular around the outer petals, as it grows in nature. It is vulgar in size, imperfect in silhouette, yet beautiful. The oddity of Turner’s approach is that the discoloration, the non-perfect becomes enchanting, arguing for an acceptance of expressions of age, wilts, and mutations in the flowers and our own bodies.
About the Artist
Tiffanie Turner was born in 1970 in Colonie, NY and raised in the woods of New Hampshire. She lives and works in the Bay Area.
She received her Bachelor of Architecture from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1995 and worked as an architect for over 15 years before beginning her career as a botanical sculptor. She received a Zellerbach Family Grant award in 2016 to support her work as the May 2016 artist-in residence at the de Young Museum located in San Francisco.
Turner has had solo exhibitions at the Kimball Gallery at the de Young Museum, Tower Hill Botanical Garden in Boylston, MA, and Rare Device in San Francisco. Recent group exhibitions include “Pleasure Garden” at Eleanor Harwood Gallery in San Francisco, “Flower Power” at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, “Preternatural” at Jack Fischer Gallery in San Francisco, “Detritus” at San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, and “Botanica” at Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek, CA. She has been featured in Vogue, American Craft, O Magazine, LAB magazine, and the San Francisco Chronicle, and been noted online by Colossal, Squarespace presents HI-FRUCTOSE, My Modern Met, Design*Sponge, Elie Saab, and The Jealous Curator, among others.
Turner is an instructor in the art of paper flower making in the United States and beyond, and authored her first book, The Fine Art of Paper Flowers, which was released on Ten Speed Press on August 22, 2017.
What Befell Us was created with support from SPACE on Ryder Farm and San Francisco’s Intersection for the Arts.
About Eleanor Harwood Gallery
The Eleanor Harwood Gallery opened September 2006. The programming of the gallery focuses on emerging to mid-career artists exhibiting nationally and internationally. The roster includes artists that are represented in major American and European collections. The gallery actively promotes and encourages career growth for represented artists.
1275 Minnesota Street, Suite 206
San Francisco, CA 94107
Tuesdays 1:00-5:00pm, Wednesday-Saturday, 11am-5:00pm
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