Mary Shindell comes from a long line of gardeners; for generations, her family farmed land in the Midwest, she says. Though Shindell doesn't exactly garden herself, her latest exhibition "Generation CSA" at Five15 Gallery is an exploration of her own green thumb and a tribute to her family tradition.
Shindell has a background in drawing and printmaking, but she says the transition to digital was more like a step than a leap. "I was already accustomed to working with hard surfaces from my experience with printmaking," she says. "Working with the computer presents its own set of challenges, but the surface of the screen itself wasn't a huge adjustment for me."
Her comfort with the from is evidenced in the work. Shindell's digital print creations are incredibly detailed, capturing the delicacy of all kinds of plant fibers. In one of the larger works on display in "Generation CSA", the sinewy strands of a corn husk are displayed seamlessly alongside the sharper (almost rubbery) texture of a cactus. If the show were made of these kinds of prints alone, it would be quite impressive.
But Shindell takes it a step further, using LED lights to transform her botanical creations into 3-D works that literally spring from the wall (or, in other cases, from small pots). "In a funny way, the LEDs make the pieces look more like they originally do when I'm creating the images on the computer screen," she says.
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There's an engineering process that goes into making these pieces, she admits. But the end result is that people get to take home a very portable sculptural work, "like picking up the weekly bag of vegetables from your local CSA," Shindell adds, smiling.
She may not be selling vegetables like her predecessors, but Shindell's native plant art is sure to put a smile on the faces of garden lovers and art lovers alike.
Mary Shindell's latest exhibition Generation CSA will be on view at Five15 Gallery from 6 to 10 p.m. this First Friday, September 6. The show runs through September 28. For more info, visit Shindell's website or the Five15 website.