by Sam Scoggins
On view in the Visitor & Administration Building
April 16 through June 13
Artist Sam Scoggins draws from the tradition of botanical cyanotypes, an early photographic technique, to explore what we define as “invasive species.” Scoggins’ large scale prints present these plants found in the New York City Watershed and Hudson River in a new light.
This exhibition is made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
Art in the Garden: Invasive Species by Sam Scoggins
Sam Scoggins’ series of large scale prints is grounded in the lineage of the botanical cyanotype, but its subjects are plants that are invasive in the area where Scoggins lives and works in the Hudson Valley. Due to human activity, these plants have all been introduced, either deliberately or accidentally, into an area where they had never previously existed. They have thrived, out-competing native species and reducing biodiversity.
The cyanotype process uses a mixture of iron compounds, which when exposed to sunlight, and washed in water, oxidize to create Prussian Blue images. The technique was invented in 1841 by Sir John Hershel and popularized by Anna Atkins in her book ‘Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions’, published in 1843 and considered the first photo book.
We do not need to travel far to see the ways in which human activities adversely impact the environment; invasive plants are all around us. Scoggins’ uses elements from the environment of the plants, such as water from the Hudson River, to interact with the Cyanotype chemistry. This creates an expressionistic feel to the work that alludes to the dramatic impact humans have on the environment.
To learn more about Queens Botanical Garden’s Art in the Garden, click here.