Artist Diana Thompson makes sculptural interventions in the natural world. In the spirit of the Spring that is finally coming to Chicago, I wanted to share some images of one of her ongoing projects, Flower Circles. These temporary works are inspired by infiorata and alfombras de flores --- flower carpets from Italy and Spain, as well as rangoli and kolams --- both forms of Indian sand-painting often thought of as decorative prayers.
Thompson, on reoccurring occasions, has orchestrated the creation of these lovely outdoor installations --- one part Wicker Man and one part 60's idealism --- where the materials (in this case, flowers) are provided by visitors and guests to the piece. This reminds me on a larger scale of the little things of twigs, grasses and flowers that one makes as a child. The refreshing simplicity and charm of this project makes it the perfect usher of Spring.
In another project, titled Hundreds & Thousands, Thompson numbered all the leaves of 5 large trees using a pen and a ladder. The project lasted through all four seasons of a year, during which the artist eventually counted and marked over 38,000 leaves. One imagines that she eventually became the world's best leaf-numberer.
At the end of the year, when the quantified leaves fell from the trees, Thompson collected them, washed, dried, froze and then pressed them. The leaves were then lightly pinned to the walls of a gallery, where visitors were also invited to pin-up additional leaves themselves.
By subtly weaving the dialog of her work back and forth between the natural world and the constructed environment, Diana Thompson's delicate and generous art-making strategies invite us to take pause --- to look longer and more deeply at the patterns and rhythms of the intricate world around us.
Documentation of many other projects can be seen on her website, and perhaps in forests and fields near you.