The floral future blooms before our eyes


The floral future blooms before our eyes

This is what the best of contemporary floral design is about


David Hockney, he of summer dappled pools and Miami pastels, has made a statement in this season of lockdown. He has painted daffodils in all their simple, sculptural glory. His is a charmed offering to the gods, a hope for a new season. A digital artwork for our time — to balm the spirits of our troubled world. His yellow vision washed over me and cheered my soul as only flowers can. Even digital ones.

Hockney, like all great artists, has captured the undercurrents of the general mood. He’s given us the hope of renewal and the spirit of human ingenuity when it plays nicely with nature, while the ephemeral quality of life plays its solemn tune just below the surface. This is what the best of contemporary floral design is about. An aesthetic tussle with matters of life and death.

Perhaps my favourite floral artist — for that is what she is — is Emily Thompson. Her small corner of delight in the Roman and Williams Guild New York emporium and café radiates her talent across the world. She calls herself a butcher of flowers, a description of her art that captures the essential violence inherent in the act of creating an arrangement. Each floral display is a still life, or more accurately expressed in the French, a nature morte — dead nature captured for a fleeting moment. Her work is driven by seasonal flowers sourced ethically and organically and #madebywildanimals, which she then re-contextualises and repurposes as dying art. Is there any art form that is more apt for our time? Her plague posies are small allegories for our circumstances. Her Instagram captions are a poetry for the mysterious present moment: “Concurrent emergence and rot! Fetid earth and birth. Always, never not.”..

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