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Old Dominion University


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Orchids: Attraction and Deception, 2/4 - 8/1

Barry Art Museum
Barry Art Museum
Sunday, Aug 1, 2021 at 5:00 PM (ET)

On view: Feb. 4 - Aug. 1

For the second changing exhibition, the Barry Art Museum is pleased to present Orchids: Attraction and Deception. The exhibition was created by the museum staff, along with incalculable input from a diverse team of Old Dominion University students, artists, and art historians, and in collaboration with Darrin Duling Associate Director at the Kaplan Orchid Conservatory and Lisa Wallace J. Robert Stiffler Distinguished Professor in Botany at Old Dominion University. Located in our rotating gallery, the exhibition will present works of art relating to the visual allure, ecological idiosyncrasy, and cultural impact of orchids. Timed to coincide with the bloom cycle of orchids at the Kaplan Conservatory, the exhibition schedule will include public programming in partnership with the Conservatory, the Norfolk Botanical Gardens, Oak Springs Foundation, and the Barry Art Museum. 

When artists begin to investigate orchids as subject matter, the results are as varied and deep as the plants themselves. According to the nonprofit Rainforest Alliance , there are more than 25,000 species of flowering plants in the orchid family. The work included in this exhibition ranges widely, mirroring its inspiration – one of the largest and most diverse plant groups on the planet. Is this a show about orchids? Yes, but orchids are just the tip of the melting iceberg, the canary in the shuttered coal mine, the indicator species for our greater world, the cipher for our evolving culture. From pure botanical fascination to climate change, from historical model-making to the history of collecting and colonization, the twelve contemporary artists represented approach the orchid from very different angles. The artists in this show each have diverse cultures and backgrounds. They have independently discovered the orchid as subject matter through rigorous research and poetic intuition. Working in printmaking, sculpture, photography, ceramics, glass, paper, and varied hybrid media, their work is thoughtful, insightful, challenging, and beautiful – and designed to provoke you to think deeper about that favorite design magazine staple, that easily overlooked supermarket flower, the orchid.

Brett Day Windham
Tropicalian Diptych
, 2020
Cyanpotype, gouache and watercolor on rag paper
26 x 40 inches each, unframed

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