by Matthew Weinstein
The Conversation comes out of a continuing series of works featuring ikebana arrangements. I was first exposed to ikebana when I was a student in Japan. I was inspired by the way ikebana practitioners look at the natural world so closely, and use the bare minimum of plant elements. Ikebana signifies a more ecological relationship to the natural world—bringing nature closer to us—than the Western attachment to excess and waste. Ikebana arrangements anthropomorphize plant life, bringing out the uniqueness of each element to the point where they acquire personality. They are us, and we are them. The arrangement depicted in this painting was created as a collaboration with an ikebana master at my studio. I picked the plants and told her that I needed the arrangement to evoke a conversation. I watched her create it, then I created a 3D model so that I could tweak the image into greater expressivity. I then used that image as the basis for the painting.
“The Conversation,” 2016
Mixed media on aluminum, 90″ x 51