This post is brought to you by our summer communications volunteer, Saffron Hefta-Gaub. Saffron is a sophomore at the Bush School in Seattle, Washington, and we are delighted to share her perspectives on UW Botanic Gardens’ spaces and programs.
July 23, 2015
The “Lake, Lattice, Stone: Requiem for a Garden” artist’s reception I went to on this day offered not only a unique opportunity into art, but also insight into the Elisabeth C. Miller Library’s gallery. Before I begin, take note that the reception occurred two weeks ago and I am just now writing about it. BUT the artwork will be shown until September 3rd, so don’t miss the rare opportunity to see Lollie Groth’s amazing work!
First off, I’d like to say my two favorite pieces of art are the Fortune Bird collage and the Perennial Garden viscosity monotype with chine collé. Yes, I had to write down what the specific art form was, I’m not an expert okay? All of the art was beautiful, but I highly recommend you look out for these specific pieces. As for the most interesting art, the monotype with chine collé Alchemy of Place caught my eye, as well as Lake Lattice Stone, a viscosity monotype. My actual experience at the reception, as you will read below, consisted of mostly of me wandering about, and all I really wrote down were these art piece names. As for what else I did, well…
I showed up at the Botanical Garden’s location around 5:30, and wandered into a room of older people I knew I could not make small talk with. So I snagged some snacks, nibbling away as I peered at the art. I was stealing free food, muhahahaha! Also a sparkly water, because the guy who was serving drinks gave me a strange look when I walked up to him and told me which bottle was the water. But really, I did appreciate the art, being a child of a photographer and an artist myself. The people around me gave me odd but hopefully welcoming looks. Soon I saw Jessica, whom I knew was going to be there, and got a sharp, happy burst of not being alone. She introduced me to the artist, the lovely Lollie Groth, who smiled at me and asked briefly about my blog before wandering away. Really, half of the event consisted of wandering.
Jessica also introduced me to a woman who worked at the library, Tracy Mehlin. Clutching my fizzy non-alcohol drink, we retreated to the back corner of the library so I could ask her a few questions about the way the gallery works. She started off with telling me what they tell all possible artists first, they’re “a library first, not a gallery.” Artists often come to them, either by filling out a form on their website, or by coming into the library itself, seeing the art, and inquiring. Sometimes people mention artists whom they contact themselves, but that is rare. After the initial inquiry, the library talks to them about it, and once the artist is ready, they apply. The library looks at the artist’s work, by email or in person. Thematically they look for flowers, landscape, natural in style. Lollie’s art is a more abstract version of that, but has many references to her mother’s garden, in both name and image. Sometimes the art is more literal, with photos of actual flowers and plants, or even birds in the natural area around the library. One more abstract example was once they hosted a quilt exhibit! Abstract and literal are both fine, it’s the theme that takes priority.
As for how Lollie Groth came to the exhibit, she contacted them, as her mother lived in the area and she often visited. The library schedules shows in advance of about a year, so it was difficult for Tracy to properly remember what happened. For sure, Lollie Groth came to the library about a year before, art ready to show.
Tracy’s favorite part of Lollie’s work was the multimedia aspect, the layered collage style. Lollie uses monotype prints, one-time prints that can be assembled into awesomeness. It was hard for Tracy to explain exactly what the best part was because she did not have an artist’s knowledge of specific vocabulary, but the bright color and the images designed within images were her favorite highlight of the art. I agreed that those were some of my favorite aspects as well.
One amusing thing, listening back to the recording of the interview, was that Jessica popped her head in midway to let me know she was leaving, off to a charity concert, and soon after, once the interview was over, with no one else to talk too, I left too (my mom had to wait outside the whole time, which I feel bad about). Before I left, however, I did hover around trying to work up the courage to say goodbye and congratulate Lollie on her art. Unfortunately, I didn’t. This was pre-play Saffron who wasn’t as ready to take chances. Oh did I mention I was in a play? Yeah, that’s what has been taking up my time, time when I should have been writing this.
Sometimes my thoughts are muddled, and I hope I can make some sense and get through to you, the diligent, maybe nonexistent reader. Sometimes I really want to get meta and ramble about stuff because I doubt anyone is reading this. Or maybe they are. Some little part of me wants some random person to find this strange corner of the internet with my blog on the UW Botanic Garden’s website, where in a place one would expect talk of flowers and bookkeeping, there’s teenage me trying to be relatable to everyone (but instead I blabber about tv shows and my attempts at being polite). Wouldn’t it be funny if one day a gardener stumbles in here and I’m rambling about humans’ very existence? It’s fine though, it’s not like anyone is actually reading this, right? Right? Okay, back to actually event discussion.
Except there’s not much event left to discuss. This has been a sadly short post for which I apologize. I hope you have a great day. See, I try to be polite!