“These faces become almost unrecognizable under the black sinuous lines of Mangrove roots and the tactility of the impasto flowers, a nod to Joan Mitchell and Franz Kline.” Melissa Diaz, Cultural Arts Curator at Deering Estate
This series of ten paintings challenge the standard narrative of the European conquest of the Americas. Ten European men who aimed to impose their will on the Americas are here consumed by the flora of America. Neither has history ended, nor are limited perspectives enough to analyze the outcome of the Grand Exchange. The perspective presented in The Roses of Fibonacci is a triumphant America strangling Europe with mangroves and suffocating the Old World with roses.
The portraits were made at my Power House studio at the Deering Estate, where I am an Artist-in-Residence Fellow. The blues and teals come from the sky and sea and the mangroves were painted en plein air.
Miami is defined and held together by mangroves. Mangroves not only preserve the land but actually reclaim it from civilization. In the these paintings, the roots are similar to the serpents in the Classical Laocoön and His Sons in Roma and the El Greco version.
The idea of humans suffocating on flowers was born of the tension between humans and nature as well as the wonderful Alma-Tadema interpretation of the passage of Emperor Elagabalus in the Augustan History.
“He [Elagabalus] loaded his parasites with violets and other flowers in a banqueting room with a reversible ceiling, in such a way that some of them expired when they could not crawl out to the surface.” Scriptores Historiae Augustae: Antoninus Heliogabalus (XXI.5)