February 4, 2014

My friends at Maven Collective are hosting a stunning photo exhibition this month, Overgrowth, featuring the work of floral designer Riley Messina and photographer Parker Fitzgerald. If you’re lucky enough to be in Portland, OR, you can check it out in person. Or you can enjoy the images here.

Overgrowth is described as an “expression of the multifaceted relationship of between mankind and nature.” If you ask me, Nature seems to be winning. Through their vivid imagery, Messina and Fitzgerald play with how people use pretty florals and benign blooms to adorn themselves and beautify their environment. So long have we cultivated and reaped, made hybrids to suit our pleasure, that we have forgotten that our gardens once belonged to the wilderness. We invite this jungle into our homes, thinking it a tamed beast, and when special occasion calls, we even entwine its tendrils in our hair and on our bodies.

But somewhere along the way Seymour seems to have developed a mind of his own. Or perhaps we just left nature unattended too long, left it unpruned, unpicked. Now it begins to usurp, taking us unawares. No longer the master, we are now subservient, or worse, the host upon which it feeds. We are over grown, obscured.

Or maybe, even unconsciously, we let it happen. When we realized there was greater freedom and harmony in not ruling the world.

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