Queens Botanical Garden - Where people, plants, and cultures meet
Invasive Pigments

Beginning July 23, 2013, Ellie Irons’s Invasive Pigments, a research-based art project exploring the migration and proliferation of certain plants in tandem with dense human populations, will be on display through October 2013 with an opening reception on July 27 from 3-5pm. The exhibit and opening will be held in the Gallery at QBG’s Visitor & Administration Building.

Irons developed a love for ecological systems and art while studying environmental science as an undergraduate, and describes her work’s process as “gathering weeds and other ‘unintentional plants’ found in urban centers and mining them for pigments, which are used to construct map-like portraits of each species. These portraits detail species’ points of origin as well as their spread through contact with humans.”

“Through this project” she continues “I am reinventing the tradition of the intrepid naturalist hunting exotic species abroad by seeking the non-native, alien and invasive here in New York City. Rather than placing specimens in a Wunderkammer for contemplation, I am subjecting them to a studio-based process of pigment extraction. Through gathering, cultivating and processing wild and feral species on an intimate scale, I hope to engender dialogue around the wider implications of labeling species as “alien,” “exotic” or “invasive.” These plants have a rich ecological and cultural history that echoes the diversity of New York City itself (and Flushing, Queens in particular!), while also suggesting implications for the broader interactions between humans and what we conceive of as “nature”.

On August 18, 2013 at 2pm Ms. Irons will be hosting a workshop where participants are invited to bring “unintentional” plants from their neighborhood with attempts to identify those plants, and determine if they are native or non-native and considered beneficial or invasive. Students are able to paint with pigments during the workshop, and take home a set of their own pigments for later use.


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