Octavia Art Gallery is pleased to present Carmen Almon: The Botany of Desire.
“Botany of Desire” is the title of a book by Michael Pollan, a favorite of mine, hence the title of this show. It puts forward the idea of a plant evolving according to its own particular desire to survive, attract and reproduce.
I follow various of these desires, these botanical pathways towards the sun, defying gravity.
In her latest sculpture collection, "Botany of Desire," Carmen Almon once again transports us into her extraordinary world, her extraordinary garden. Carmen Almon's artistry and originality lie in her combination of sculpture and painting.
Take, for example, the difference between the three poppies (apart from the colors). The black poppy rises vertically from the roots with a second stem finishing in a bud. The pink poppy also rises vertically but it carries a second flower emerging from the main stem. The red poppy is almost horizontal. Three "cousin" flowers, three stories, three stances. Does the last one bend under the effect of a breeze, or simply from its fatigue and eventual demise?
As for painting, Carmen Almon has created an exceptional chromatic range, like all great painters. Incredible mixes of oil paints achieve a velvety texture, a light, a subtle flaw, a wound.
Each element (leaf, root, insect) is worked on both in its individuality and as part of the whole sculpture.
Her sculptures are three-dimensional paintings.
Finally, let's return to Carmen Almon's choices. Let's contemplate the titles: wild carrots, wild clematis, thistles, sorghum, dandelions, etc. Not much to put in a pot, apart from a peony... a few branches that nobody would notice except her, like the akebia.
In fact, she gently leads us towards a universe we encounter daily without fully realizing it. These wild plants and garden plants come directly from her (photographic) herbarium, collected during excursions and travels, or actual specimens gathered on-site. In these cases, she creates a quick sketch, takes photos, as these plants are ephemeral.
She sometimes uses works by botanists from the 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries to confirm her observations.
Carmen Almon places her sculptures in space with a harmony and mastery in occupying full and empty volumes. In the piece "Waterlily," inspired from what she saw in a water reserve near where she lives, we immediately understand by the flat surface of the leaves that the empty space between the leaves and roots is the flow of the water.
There are no anecdotes; it's radically simple and superbly executed. The sense of emptiness.
A special mention to the insects Carmen Almon chooses with particular attention and defines an instant.
In conclusion, Carmen Almon's work is undoubtedly a beautiful artistic endeavor, but also a work of research and memory, where life, despite the influence of man, exults triumphantly.
Carmen Almon grew up in Barcelona and Washington DC and resides in San Miguel de Allende, MX. Her works have been exhibited at the Chinese Porcelain Gallery, NY; Octavia Art Gallery, TX and LA, and at art fairs worldwide. She has been featured in publications including Plant: Exploring the Botanical World, Phaidon Editors, 2016; In Bloom: Creating and Living with Flowers, Ngoc Minh Ngo, 2016; and Evergreen: Living with Plants, Gestalten, 2016. Almon’s works have also been highlighted in the following articles: Faux-Laige, The World of Interiors UK, July 2022; Carmen Almon Creates Beguiling Floral Sculptures with Nail Scissors and Pliers, Architectural Digest, May 2018; The Magical World of Carmen Almon, House & Garden, December 2016; Floral Inspirations, Martha Stewart Living, October 2016; Poetic and Lifelike Botanical Sculptures, T Magazine, October 2015 and Carmen Almon, The Naturalist, T Magazine, August 2013.