DECEMBER 2014
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NEWSLETTER

If you are on my mailing list, you’ve hopefully received a 2014 newsletter. It was an exciting year for flora-focused projects (click to enlarge).

NOVEMBER 2014
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11.07.14
VERY EXCITING NEWS! / A BOOK!

I’m thrilled to announce that University of Chicago Press will be publishing my book! Tentatively titled “Wall Flower,” the large-format book will feature educational botanic wall charts, mostly authored in Europe in the mid 19th & early 20th centuries and implemented in classrooms & lectures. The book will be organized by plant family and include comparative analysis of the science and art of each chart, with biographies of their illustrators & authors, and discussion of the taxonomy, biology, and social context of illustrated species.

We expect to publish in Spring 2016. Meanwhile, I’ll be in Europe, in pursuit of repositories & imagining how the charts appeared to school children in nineteenth century Amsterdam.

Cover for the book proposal, designed by Ilex Press.

A sample spread, designed by Ilex Press.

AUGUST 2014
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08.29.14
PUBLISHED / HYMN MAGAZINE
HYMN is a bi-annual magazine published by the L.A.- & U.K.-based Laboratory Arts Collective. Each installment is theme-based and includes original work by artists and authors. For their most recent issue (no. IV), ‘Fear,’ editor Louise Salter approached me for “scary seed pods.” We sorted through many specimens that alternately evoked fear, or themselves appeared afraid, and settled on two that looked fearsome, and are also poisonous. I titled the piece “Death in the Garden: Noli Me Tangere (trans. Don’t Touch Me).” The issue launched at the Jack Rutberg Fine Arts Gallery in Los Angeles, in conjunction with a photography exhibit, on August 29th.Devil’s apple (Datura stramonium)

Angel’s trumpet (Brugmansia sauveolens)

HYMN’s ‘Fear’ issue (no. IV). Front & back covers.

A decidedly unafraid viewer at the magazine’s launch party in Los Angeles.

APRIL 2014
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04.16.14
COLLECTING / BERKELEY BOTANICAL GARDEN

Berkeley Botanical Garden is the latest partner with my Dispersal project! I collected there two days this week, and will return twice this year. Thanks to Chris Carmichael, Anthony Garza, Holly Forbes, and Director Paul Licht. We anticipate an exhibit in Fall 2015.

Rose she-oak (Allocasuarina torulosa)

Coastal banksia (Banksia integrifolia)

Flowers from the Monkey hand tree (Chiranthodendron pentadactylon). Morphologically, they are perfect, which means each flower has male & female parts; the five “fingers” are both pollen-receiving stamens (female) & pollen-bearing anthers (male).

MARCH 2014
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03.28.14
PUBLISHED / THE ECOLOGY CENTER’S EVOLVE
I collected seed pods & wrote an essay, Shelter, for The Ecology Center, a community organization in San Juan Capistrano that offers workshops for classrooms, citizens, and groups to learn how “to coexist with a thriving environment.” A periodical publication, Evolve is an eco-journal [that] explores both local and global perspectives on contemporary eco-logical issues. Written and supported by a wide network of activists and ecological professionals, the content herein is unlike anything else being produced in Southern California.”

Each issue has a theme; their Spring 2014 journal focuses on the idea of shelter, and they approached me to collect specimens & write about seed pods as shelters for seeds & the future of the species. Here is a pdf of the full issue.


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Species featured: Hollyhock (Alcea rosea), Mexican Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia mexicana), Purple sage (Salvia leucophylla), Garlic chives (Alium tuberosum), Yerba Mansa (Anemopsis californica), Long-flower catclaw (Acacia greggii), Basil (Ocimum basilicum), Black scabiosa (Scabiosa atropurpurea), Love-in-the-Mist (Nigella damascena).

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03.30.14
EXHIBIT / NHMLA’s NATURE LABS

Nature Labs, a fantastic new permanent exhibit at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, explores the region’s micro-ecologies, & the plants & animals that inhabit them. They commissioned me to shoot seed pods & flowers of introduced botanical species that provide food for the city’s non-native parrots. The exhibit is incredible, with multi-media projections, video, archival specimen cases, citizen-sourced writing, and interactive components. It is an honor to be included in this creative, comprehensive, & immersive tribute to the city’s unique ecologies, especially because they inspired the genesis of my botanic work.

Species clockwise from top left: Red ironbark eucalyptus (Eucalyptus sideroxylon), American sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), Indian laurel fig (Ficus microcarpa), Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), Canary Island date palm (Phoenix canariensis).

JANUARY 2014
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01.10.14
PRESS / HARVARD MAGAZINE
Happy New Year! If you are a fellow Harvard alumnus, my work may have dispersed in your direction, via your mail slot. The current issue (Jan / Feb 2014) includes a three-page spread on my work. I sat with the magazine’s deputy editor, Craig Lambert, at the Arboretum after my show opening in October & he condensed a three hour chat into a lovely review of my work. When I returned to Los Angeles the following month, I filmed a tour of local seed pods at Runyon Canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains. This video is included in the online version. And here is a pdf of the full article.

Thanks to Jennifer Carling, the magazine’s art director, for a beautiful layout, and to Adam Sheridan-Taylor for the-photo-of-the-artist-as-a-bohemian-horticulturalist in Beachwood Canyon, Los Angeles (where split-leaf philodendron (Monstera deliciosa) creeps up the wallpaper).

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01.05.14
PRESS / BOSTON GLOBE

My work was featured in a column in the Boston Globe. In a review titled ‘The Seed Pod Army’, writer Kevin Hartnett beautifully describes the Dispersal project:

As living creatures ourselves, we’re naturally inclined to think well of seeds and seedpods. Laurent’s images do testify to the many ingenious ways that life propagates itself, from the enticing pink petals of the Fleshy-flowered Spindletree to the hard, brown, barnacled enclosures of the Japanese magnolia. There’s also something vaguely intimidating about the array of delivery mechanisms plants have at their disposal … Good luck trying to stop it all.”

‘The Seed Pod Army’ was included in the print edition of the newspaper on Sunday, January 5, 2014.

Hartnett’s online review featured the lotus pod (Nelumbo nucifera).