Accidental Natural sublime or is it?

I had a chance to see the work of Karen Strohbeen and Bill Luchsinger (husband and wife team) natives to Iowa – at the holiday show at the Karolyn Sherwood Gallery… The work was interesting to see – crisp, colorful and full of saturated detail. Immense detail. From the show:

property of StroLuch Productions ©
Bill Luchsinger & Karen Strohbeen
Romanesco Veronica
Digital Print

I was interested in one particular piece – Romanesco Veronica – that caught my eye and got me to wondering about what threads may be in the work presented. The beauty of the structure of the head – the spirals and the reference to Fibonacci series…. That’s my own weakness – to try and get inside what I see…. why I like it and it sticks in my memory.

On my own tangent, I wonder if the work might also have an undertow of an “ideal hybrid”…. Breeding plants to enhance certain desirable characteristics is not a new thing… but the presentation of these beautiful specimens – idealized on white backgrounds (at least a few of them) definitely heighten the sense of the specialized specimen. I came away from the images wondering what dialogue the husband and wife might be sharing…(or not).
I would have enjoyed finding more comment on the notion of collaboration / hybrid – the mix and match for something entirely new in the work – but I’m not sure at all it was meant to be about that – but that’s what I found potentially interesting….
Product ID: 2956
Veronica (F1)
(Brassica oleracea (botrytis group))
Johnny’s Selected Seeds…
Or for more the somewhat less visually appealing (maybe) but altogether typical…

Minuteman Hybrid

This might be considered the ….

“Main variety grown by market growers in our area. Exceptionally uniform plant
growth and curd formation. Pure white heads do not become ricey or purple under adverse conditions. Excellent leaf cover in the heat of summer. Widely adapted to most growing regions.”


Violet Queen Hybrid

Rich, royal purple cauliflower. Produces quality heads that do not button up
in adverse weather. Improved purple colour and plant vigor. Beautiful in salads
with broccoli.

Who knew that cauliflower could look so delicious but taste so terrible even with broccoli?

The husband and wife team – a hybrid of another sort – seemed to me anyway to be a loosely organized exhibition – perhaps mainly just about “new work”. The content of the exhibition is a combination of things that seem to be all over the map – even if it is of the desert southwest. Desert scenery, southwestern outbuildings and old churches, apparently natural desert landscapes along with photographs of abandoned dolls and sliced tomatoes and silk flowers and a grandmothers dress…. According to the exhibition statement, the images are collectively about “…images that expose time’s effect on life …” I suppose that most photographs do provide the space for those kinds of observations.

property of StroLuch Productions ©
Bill Luchsinger & Karen Strohbeen
Desert Roses
Digital Print

The accidental garden is just that perhaps – somewhat accidental, yet also specialized and unique – prized for its beauty it becomes substance and sustenance for the gardener…

To me the exhibition is a visual feast for the eye’s if not for the taste buds.

See it for yourself before it ends….
Karen Strohbeen & Bill Luchsinger
Accidental Gardens
November 30, 2006 to January 6, 2007
Incidentally, I’m currently enjoying reading “The Accidental Masterpiece – On the Art of Life and Vise Versa” by Michael Kimmelman… I like the chance coincidence….

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s