Carex interrupta

Not a photograph today, but rather a digital rendering of a pencil-drawn illustration by Dana Cromie, UBC Botanical Garden’s Artist-in-Residence. The drawing is the first piece that one encounters in Remnants: A Visual Survey of Human Progress, a newly-opened exhibit at UBC’s Beaty Biodiversity Museum. The exhibit contains a series of portraits by Dana, showing his “reaction to the ongoing reduction by human activity of natural habitat”. Twenty-six original drawings were letterpress-printed and hand cut into 1500 pieces. These were then reassembled into 5 massive collages. The collages are spaced apart over the length of the gallery space by the original drawings. I’m not particularly poetic, but the effect of the exhibit is much like the rhythm on an electrocardiogram, where each of the five collages is a heart beat punctuating the background electricity of the constituent drawings. I consulted with Dana, and we both agreed that the impact of the collages would be diminished if I used an image of one of those for BPotD–they do need to be experienced in person. My apologies to non-local readers of BPotD who won’t get an opportunity to visit and see the exhibit (but if you are local, do plan a visit to the Beaty Biodiversity Museum before April 20).

One of the reasons Dana chose to draw Carex interrupta is because of its rarity in the province. Green-fruited sedge is found in “sandy soils along rivers, occasionally wet meadows” in southwestern British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. Exemplifying the theme of the exhibit, habitat loss due to agricultural and urban uses seem to be the primary drivers for the decline of this wholly underappreciated species.

Dana’s rendering is created from a herbarium specimen of this British Columbian red-listed species. Additional photographs of green-fruited sedge can be found in the Burke Museum’s image database: Carex interrupta (the species is more secure in Washington, but still on a Watch List; it does not seem to be a sensitive species in Oregon).

Carex interrupta

8 responses to “Carex interrupta”

  1. Mandy Macdonald

    The exhibition sounds wonderful — i wish i weren’t on the other side of the Atlantic!

  2. John Deckert

    I’m an artist also and it’s my experience that a work of art in the digital age is of necessity split into two essential parts. The first part is the image, such as the reproduction you show here. The second part is the art object –the thing itself. While the image may be enjoyed and inform the wider audience on the internet it is only the art object which suffers by not viewing it in person. Letterpress is certainly a lovely print medium and I can understand how these prints will be impressive to visit first hand. However, I have to weigh the “diminished impact of the collages” by viewing them online against the message of this important exhibition being cut off from the larger audience. I’d come out in favor of the message getting out and so I’d ask the artist to provide some way to share the work. Perhaps a link to the work presented on his/her website?

  3. Meg Bernstein

    I would also like to see the whole exhibit. Sedges are so interesting and the drawing in wonderful. I too live on the opposite side of the continent and would like to at least see the display on line.

  4. Mary Beth

    I loved the collage idea, and the fact of that many drawings.
    I really wish I could see it. Could someone do a video (movie) across the entire collage and the exhibit. Granted, one should see it in person, but since that is impossible for most of us——this would be highly appreciated by me, and possibly a lot of others.
    I have a great imagination and can do a pretty good job of “picturing in my mind” how it would look in person. Please send at least more pictures of the exhibit.
    Thanks so much.

  5. Dana Cromie

    Hello, I am Dana Cromie, the artist involved.
    First, Daniel, you are a fine poet, thank you for your wonderful description.
    Secondly, I am happy that people want to see more of the art, thank you.
    “remnants” is a one time installation, put together by the Museum curators and myself. For the duration of the exhibit, the Beaty Biodiversity Museum is the only place it can be seen.
    After April 20, I will be happy to share the images with a broader audience through my website. I had contemplated producing a book, but the effect of the scale of the small drawings and the large collages would be lost.

  6. elizabeth a airhart

    mr dana botanical art is a favorite subject of mine
    i hope you find away for the generations to come
    to enjoy your fine art work
    thank you daniel good to see you still posting and writeing
    elizabeth a airhart florida usa bonjour

  7. Steve Edler

    Thank you for this posting. There is something about black & white that nothing else can match. I have just looked at your website, Dana, & am greatly impressed.
    My youthful identifications were all done using line drawings to supplement the detailed descriptions in the flora. Now elderly, it is easy to flip through a book of photgraphs but I still use Stella Ross-Craig’s drawings for the final ID & to appreciate the fine detail.
    Older patrons of BPotD will remember, like me, drawing numerous flowers by hand including slicing them down the middle for the longitudinal, sagittal half. Does anyone still do it?

  8. Daniel Mosquin

    I’ll be sure to provide a reminder link to Dana’s web site when the exhibition is over. In the meantime, I expect some photographs from the exhibition opening will find their way to the Beaty Museum’s Flickr Pool sometime very soon.

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