The Broome County Arts Council’s second-annual Spring Flower Show, held at the Artisan Gallery, put a fresh spin on the classic flower still life, featuring works from local artists of all ages, including preschoolers from the preschool program at Binghamton’s Discovery Center of the Southern Tier. The Artisan Gallery on Court Street showcased the show for the second year, transforming the quaint gallery into a multimedia garden. The space was serene as guests mingled quietly among colorful scenes of floral pastures and flower petals. Paintings covered the walls while sculptures, flower calendars, jewelry and even a floral mosaic banjo sat on surrounding tables. In the entryway, poems hung from the branches of a faux tree covered in lights. The gallery was a breath of fresh air, and the art showed flowers as multidimensional objects from different angles, in different scenes and in a variety of unique styles.
Liam Axon, a gallery assistant at the Artisan Gallery, said that the Spring Flower Show is put on every April as a “nice way to bring in spring,” showcasing art from members of the Broome County Arts Council, almost all of whom are local residents. The paintings varied from classic floral arrangements to cartoonlike flowers and pastoral scenes. Artist Bambi Scovell’s sculpture “Minerva Flower Fairy” stood out on a small table, featuring a small purple flower fairy atop a forest green bulb.
“We have floral patterns — that’s the theme of the show,” Axon said. “Most of the artists are local. They come from the area [and] they’re all members of the [Artisan] Gallery. Of the members that submitted, 95 percent are from the area. It is mixed media. We have paintings and a banjo.”
Axon pointed out his favorite painting, which featured a woman in a small glass house in a field of flowers and tall grass, from Scott Yurko’s mini-exhibition “The Fierce and Fantastic Flower.” Axon explained the inspiration behind the painting, “Sylvia’s Studio in the Field.”
“That house is his neighbor’s studio,” Axon said. “She paints out in the middle of that field. That’s my dream studio.”
In Yurko’s letter to the audience, he explained that he wanted to give the viewers “something simple, delicate and beautiful to look at, breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy the fierce and fantastic flowers,” highlighting flowers as subjects not “void of content.” Among his work was a long mural style painting of purple irises, “Mangold’s Irises,” in which he painted sunlight highlighting detailing in the petals of the flowers, and a three-square piece titled “Deconstructing Peonies” which showed three stages of a painting of a bouquet of peonies developing, becoming more detailed in each.
Another highlight of the event was the colorful paper flower piece in the back of the gallery, made by local preschool students out of materials they found and painted. In collaboration with local artist Brandy Brown, the work was done in honor of Black History Month. Jess Petrylak, a teacher and art enrichment coordinator at the Discovery Center of the Southern Tier, expressed how much the students benefited from the experience and said they were excited to visit the gallery and see their work in person.
“I thought it was really awesome that there were so many age groups represented,” Petrylak said. “I mean, they’re [4 years old], among artists who have been practicing for a long time. I’m glad they had the opportunity to be exposed to this kind of environment. I love all of the flowers and I think it’s timely — really none of them are the same. I really love the three-dimensional sculptures, because I myself am an artist, and that is totally out of my realm.”
The pieces in the gallery were not the only entries in the exhibition. Pamphlets showcasing works from all 40 participating artists were given to viewers to enjoy. The pamphlet included floral arrangements that were submitted by the students of the Floral Arts Program at Broome-Tioga BOCES, who studied flower identification and arrangement this year, as well as a variety of floral photography.
If you haven’t already, be sure to stop by the Artisan Gallery in Downtown Binghamton to celebrate the incoming spring by enjoying all the beautiful forms flowers can take on through each artist’s unique twist on the classic subject. The exhibit will be open every Thursday through Sunday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. until May 1.