‘Cut Flowers’ explores inner beauty
December 12, 2005
Like any landscape photographer, Cliff Mohwinkel has spent plenty of time revealing the beauty of flowers. But with his latest series of images, the Aspenite is looking largely at the inner beauty of roses, tulips and lisanthiuses.
With Edward Weston’s images of halved cabbages in mind, but otherwise simply musing outside the box, Mohwinkel took scissors ” or some similar implement ” to a gift bouquet of flowers last July. Cutting the flowers, Mohwinkel saw another dimension of beauty and meaning.
“They’re revealing. You can find things in a cut flower you’d never see otherwise,” said Mohwinkel. “The symmetry is amazing. There’s fine line detail, versus the usual soft edges of flowers.”
“Cut Flowers,” Mohwinkel’s series of large-format silver gelatin prints, will be unveiled at an opening tonight at 6 p.m., at Mohwinkel Fine Art. The gallery/studio is located at 309 C Airport Business Center. The show also includes flower-oriented photographs and paintings by Kay Hanna, Judy Hill, Mary Russel, Lee Shapiro, Georgeann Waggaman, Madelyn Wolke and Elle Gould.
Mohwinkel’s photographs are uncommonly effective, showing shapes and designs not typically seen in floral images. Particularly attractive are the way certain photographs suggest human movement, even ballet. And some viewers have focused on another aspect of the work not usually seen in flowers.
“Some of the reactions are disturbed. Because these are sex parts that I’m showing,” said Mohwinkel, who had a greenhouse business at the age of 10.
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Mohwinkel won’t reveal his own method of dissecting his subjects. Much of the cutting, however, is spontaneous. “Some of the shapes, I have no idea when they’ll come about. It’s just cut, and there it is,” he said.
The “Cut Flowers” series has Mohwinkel feeling more of an artist than ever. There is the originality of the work; he says, “nobody has ever seen anything like this before.” And in shaping the flowers, he has become more of a participant, and not just a documenter, in the creation of art.
“It’s the first time I’ve allowed myself not to be imprisoned by landscape photography,” he said. “It’s freedom to be able to make something, rather than just walk around and find something.”
Stewart Oksenhorn’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org