Mission Statement

The Rocky Mountain Society of Botanical Artists is an open and diverse group of artists, collectors and admirers who share a love for the practice and perpetuation of botanical art and illustration with a fond focus on plants in the Rocky Mountain Region.
We encourage and participate in educational outreach, juried and non-juried exhibits, lectures, workshops and regular chapter meetings. The RMSBA is proud to be the very first chapter affiliation of the international organization, the American Society of Botanical Artists.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

ASBA Selects Artists for Bartram's Exhibitioin

The traveling exhibition Following in the Bartrams’ Footsteps will open at Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia on April 26, 2013. An Opening Reception will be held May 6, 2013. Forty-three original botanical artworks have been selected.

Franklinia altamaha, (C) Karen Kluglein
Franklinia altamaha, watercolor, Karen Kluglein
Franklinia is the signature plant discovery of William Bartram, the son of John Bartram, in colonial tiimes. The plant is difficult to grow domestically, but would have disappeared without the Bartram's conservation efforts, as it was virtually extinct when first found by William.
A collaboration between the American Society of Botanical Artists and Bartram’s Garden, the exhibition features contemporary botanical artworks depicting plants discovered and introduced by two generations of the Bartram family. It will reflect John and William Bartram’s passionate observation and discovery of nature, which has influenced generations of artists and explorers throughout the world.
The forty-three original artworks have been selected from a field of nearly 200 entries submitted by ASBA members from around the world and Philadelphia Society of Botanical Illustrators members. Focusing on the native plant discoveries made by John and William in their travels through the eastern wilderness between the 1730’s and 1790’s, the exhibition allows a fresh look at their seminal body of knowledge and art. Beautiful native rarities including Franklinia, Dodecatheon, and American Lotus have been depicted. Other subjects include Foxglove, Morning Glory and Cockscomb, introductions the Bartrams made to American and worldwide gardening through their plant business. The exhibition promises to appeal to a wide audience as it ties together art, science, history, nature, and culture.
Artists have enthusiastically sought and captured images for the past two years, with some having gone so far as to track down heirloom seeds and cultivate them in their own gardens in order to be able to paint a particularly appealing subject. Artists have worked with Bartram’s Garden itself, or other botanical gardens to find their inspiration, and still others have explored subjects in the wilds of North America. The exhibition will open in the gallery of the restored Barn, built in 1775 by John Bartram, and the oldest barn in Philadelphia.

William’s natural history illustrations were often the first images seen of North American plants and animals and are an under-utilized cultural resource. A recent project of American artist Mark Dion reconsidered and re-enacted the travels of William Bartram throughout the southeast. In a similar vein, Following in the Bartrams’ Footsteps seeks to draw attention to the history and culture of 18th-century American naturalists including those of botanical and artistic bent, and to illuminate the role contemporary artists play in depicting these same plants for today’s audience and preserving their record for generations to come. 
Check The Botanical Artist, Journal of the ASBA, for more information on planned and possible sites for this innovative exhibition.

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