By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
About 15 years ago, Sybille Hamilton began taking a serious interest in gardening. For her, it’s about being outside and watching the flowers bloom, grow and look magnificent. In 2012, she joined the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Garden Club.
“I’ve learned so much and have had so many opportunities to travel to see parts of the U.S. and the Chelsea Garden Exhibition in London and all the beautiful gardens in the area,” Hamilton said.
The club began in 1921 as a way to raise awareness of the many benefits of gardening. Today, the club helps the museum on various projects such as Art In Bloom – the museum’s annual flower show where flowers imitate art.
Art In Bloom first began in 2008, as a way to reinvigorate interest in the galleries.
The show is currently on display from now until Sunday, April 10. While tickets are sold out, individuals can see photos from the display on the Milwaukee Art Museum’s social media pages including Facebook (www.facebook.com/milwaukeeart/) and Instagram (@milwaukeeart).
Art In Bloom features approximately 30 floral displays throughout the museum. The majority of them are based off pieces found in the gallery and created by local florists. While some pieces interpret the piece literally, others take a cue from the colors.
For example, the gallery piece “Edge of England” by Cornelia Parker is a sculpture piece that features chalk suspended by wires. Lisa Belisle of Flora Elements Education and Design, who designed the accompanying floral arrangement replaced the chalk with flowers such as hydrangeas and roses in her rendition.
In her designer statement, Belisle wrote, “As our world is rapidly changing, we each have a Chicken Little voice in our head saying, ‘The sky is falling.’ Hopefully clouds of flowers falling will soften the blows of reality we are about to get knocked over with. Change can also mean growth and renewal ahead.”
The floral arrangement accompanying Joan Miró’s “The King’s Jester” reflect the painting through colors and placement.
Emily Watson and Jenna Wilson of Wood Violet and the florists said in their statement, “Miró’s surrealist paintings from this are referred to as his ‘dream paintings.’…We chose to deconstruct this work to focus on the individual elements as they may have appeared in his subconscious.”
Kimberlee Grob from Locker’s Florist took inspiration from the shapes depicted in “Inversion XIII” by Al Held. The floral arrangement contains roses and calla lilies. Using wooden and metal structures, Grob arranged the florals in circular shapes reminiscent of the curves and lines seen in the painting.
In Karen Seitz’s interpretation of Jean Dubuffet’s “Court les rues”, she likewise takes a cue from the colors. In her piece, the linear arrangement of the flowers juxtaposes the curvy lines of the painting. Her piece features Billy buttons, orchids, pussy willow and more.
In her statement, she noted that the basic flowers were a nod to the “humanistic approach used in the Low Art movement.”
Additional gallery pieces that inspired floral arrangements included “Saint Francis of Assisi in His Tomb”, “Decoys”, “Merry Hill”, Just a Sumac to You, Dear”, “Ocean Park No. 68” and many more. Although the floral arrangements are temporary, these gallery pieces and more are on display at the museum.
The museum recently expanded its hours and is now open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday through Sunday, with extended hours on Thursday till 8 p.m. For tickets or more information, visit mam.org.