Publications

2012

Unnatural

Unnatural

Unnatural
Exhibition catalogue

Curator and Catalogue Essayist: Tami Katz-Freiman

Published by the Bass Museum of Art, Miami
ISBN 978-1-880511-14-5

Michal Shamir, Untitled, 2010, digital prints from a scan of dry flowers, insects, and watercolor drawings, 126 X262 cm
Michal Shamir, Untitled, 2010, digital prints from a scan of dry flowers, insects, and watercolor drawings, 126 X262 cm

 

Michal Shamir, Untitled 2011, digital prints from a scan of dry flowers, insects, and watercolor drawings, 126X277 cm
Michal Shamir, Untitled 2011, digital prints from a scan of dry flowers, insects, and watercolor drawings, 126X277 cm

 

Michal Shamir’s works contain actual natural vestiges that have been carefully collected, classified, and preserved – leaves, thorns, flowers, birds, insects, cobwebs, mold, stamens, earth, and ashes. These vestiges of life are delicately and compassionately gathered and ordered in a scanner, where they are arranged into garlands or scattered across the surface. The scanned images call attention to the astonishingly real-looking details, to which the artist sometimes adds watercolor and pencil drawings based on plant and insect handbooks. Insect joints, cobwebs, and grains of sand are scattered throughout the compositions. These images, which are reminiscent of flowers dried among the pages of a book or of 17th century Dutch still lifes, are transformed into large, stunning digital prints. Shamir\’s concern with the vanitas tradition offers a reminder of the ephemerality of life. The beauty and freshness of the flowers alludes to their future decay, while their detailed, pseudoscientific display underscores their withering and dissolution. Shamir walks the thin line between attraction and repulsion as she confronts living beauty with its fragile and ephemeral essence and highlights the Romantic quality of death and melancholy of decay.

Tami Katz-Freiman

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