Currently on view at The Hort (The Horticultural Society of New York), as part of their Project Space program, is a mesmerizing exhibition of Anna Plesset’s twigs, entitled “Observe, Notice, Understand”. As the handout reads, “Plesset set a goal to collect a twig every day for six months. When she could not find a twig or forgot to collect one, she created her own tromp l’oeil facsimiles from clay and gouache.” The handmade twigs are identifiable upon close inspection if you have the time to compare and contrast art versus nature. Accompanying the visual display is a handout charting the date and location of each twig. The twigs are hand numbered in white gouache, those numbers circled are handmade (for those spare NY minutes).
Upon further thought I referred immediately to Beverly Duncan’s “Winter Branches, 2011″, a watercolor on vellum measuring 5 x 8 inches currently in my inventory. I reflected on the details in her branches, the knotty moments where your eye bounces up and down as if on a seesaw, moving over the inconsistent surface with amazement and wonder of nature’s ability to capture beauty in the most surprising places.
Here, Beverly’s collection of branches points to her surroundings in Western Massachusetts. As she walks toward the post office or hardware store in her mile-length town, she looks down at the incredible offerings from the trees in the coldest of seasons. Her compositions are composed through these magical steps, welcoming us to the season with an unexpected thoughtfulness towards something most would break under foot.