In various artistic traditions, flowers have figured as ornament, allegory, and vehicles for exploring color, light, and technique. Substituted for the most fundamental themes – death, sex, the spiritual realm – they abound by virtue of their physical beauty and diversity, but also due to their symbolic implications, ritualistic and medicinal applications, and their proximity to decay.
Dispensing with romanticism and narrative associations, Andrew Zuckerman's Flower is predicated on contemporizing this seemingly exhausted terrain. Culled from an exploration of over 300 species, Zuckerman aims, as always, to translate the essential nature of his subjects and unearth qualities that have previously escaped scrutiny.
With characteristic minimalism, he creates an atmosphere of absolute clarity to reveal each flower on its own terms. In the blank field of pure white light, in exacting definition, they appear alternately alien, comestible, and anatomical. Every aspect is made explicit. What one notices immediately are the astonishing gradations of color and variations of form – some sculptural, others almost viscous – followed by boundless textural nuance.
The images contained within are not still lives, but flowers in a specific time and place, responding to the pull of light, gravity, and water. At close range, they reveal a kind of topography for survival. Zuckerman's photographs expose the mechanisms beneath the surface — vascular, respiratory, reproductive – the structural imperatives for such arresting physical beauty.