Exhibition - Portraits of leaves and fungi, paintings from the Shirley Sherwood CollectionSat 05 May 2012 - Sun 07 April 2013
Explore these two linked exhibitions featuring paintings of leaves from a variety of artists including Margaret Mee, Paul Jones and Brigid Edwards; together with paintings of fungi, predominantly painted by Alexander Viazmensky.
Amanita muscaria by Alexander Viazmensky
Please note that the last day you can see this exhibition is on Sunday 7 May. After this the exhibition space will be closed for five days while we replace it with Dr. Sherwood's new exhibition: Rory McEwen's Legacy, which opens on Saturday 13 April.
- Venue: The Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, Kew Gardens (how to find us)
- Dates: 5 May 2012 to 8 April 2013
- Admission is free with entry to the Gardens. More information.
About the exhibition
This two part exhibition features beautiful paintings of leaves from a variety of artists including Margaret Mee, Paul Jones and Brigid Edwards from the contemporary botanical art collection of Dr Shirley Sherwood. Dr Sherwood has based this part of the display on John Ruskin's (1819-1900) famous quote 'If you can paint one leaf you can paint the world' and has selected some of her finest paintings of leaves from her collection, which capture the ephemeral beauty and variety of leaves, from bud to decay.
There will also be several paintings of fungi to form the second part of this exhibition, most of these works have been painted by Alexander Viazmensky. Abundant worldwide, most fungi are inconspicuous because of the small size of their structures and their secretive lifestyles in the soil. Most of us only see them when they are fruiting, either as mushrooms or moulds. Fungi are remarkable organisms present in every type of habitat and ecosystem throughout the world. Estimates suggest that over 1.5 million species of fungi exist, but mycology (the study of fungi) is a relatively new science and less than 5% of these have yet been described. Vital work is being done by the Mycology section at Kew to shed new light on these unknown species. Kew has a substantial mycology collection, with over 800,000 specimens of fungi. This is one of the oldest, largest and most important reference collections in the world.
- You can learn more about Fungi here
- Watch a short film about Kew's fungarium here
- Find out about Cyttaria darwinii (Darwin's fungus)
- Find out more about a recent acquistion of fungi watercolours to Kew's illustration collection
'Small Gunnera leaf' by Sue Herbert ©
Alexander Viazmensky paints both lansdscapes and fungi. Each summer Viazmensky visits the woods near St. Peterburg, and gathers fungi from his favourite secret spots. His paintings of mushrooms have been exhibited at the Royal Horticultural Society who have bought works for the Lindley Library. Since 1997, his style has become more detailed and clearly outlined, although he retains his customary scatter of leaves, pine needles and strands of grass around the specimen as part of the overall composition. His painting of fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) demonstrates Viazmensky's fluid style and shows how he delicately places debris from the specimen's habitat around the portrait. Amanita muscaria is a poisonous fungus which usually grows near birch trees, and is one of the most conspicuous of all fungi.
- Find out more about the exhibition and its curation in Dr Sherwood's post for the Library, Art and Archives blog.
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