The NBMAA Exhibits 13th Biennial Floral Expressions Show

By Olivia Jablonski

Managing Editor

Sixteen floral arrangements inspired by select pieces in the museum’s permanent collection went on display Thursday, June 16 at the New Britain Museum of American Art.

The arrangements were created by members of the New Britain Garden Club, and the National Council accredited judges from the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut. Sarah Rohlfing, supervisor of vistor services, helped set up the floral arrangements at the museum.

“The Garden Club have contributed pieces at the museum for at least 25 years,” Rohlfing said.

Sculptor piece done by Mary Gould, inspired from "The Red Candle" by Alexander Calder (1968). Photo By Olivia Jablonski.

Sculptor piece done by Mary Gould, inspired from “The Red Candle” by Alexander Calder (1968). Photo By Olivia Jablonski.

“Within the last four years the museum has taken on organizing the arrangements and working with the garden clubs to have them come and display their works,” she said.

The museum held an opening reception from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. to showcase the works made by the members and judges.

Pieces of arrangements were scattered throughout the museum’s first and second floor, showcasing mostly paintings and sculptoric like works.

The pieces were brought and assembled into the museum the day of the show, according to Mary Gould, a member of the New Britain Garden Club.

Of the 15 artists who contributed, they were all given a specific assigned piece to work on for the show.

Arrangement done by Kris Urbanik, a member of the Glastonbury Garden Club. Piece was inspired from "Spanish Girl of Segovia" by Robert Henri (1912). Photo By Olivia Jablonski.

Arrangement done by Kris Urbanik, a member of the Glastonbury Garden Club. Piece was inspired from “Spanish Girl of Segovia” by Robert Henri (1912). Photo By Olivia Jablonski.

Gould, who was one of the two members from the New Britain Garden Club to participate, was given a sculptor piece called “The Red Candle” by Alexander Calder (1968) which was located in the Johnson Gallery on the first floor. Gould created a metal sculpture that formed the basis and then arranged two kinds of flowers around it called spathephylum and anthuriem.

“I wanted to create the essence of the mobile,” she explained. “Not copy it or reproduce it but give the essence in which I might follow the line, the colors, or the type of material whether it was the wire or bronze.”

Alison Feaster, a judge council from the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, also contributed her piece in the museum. Feaster was assigned to work on a piece by Soo Sunny Park called “Boundary Conditions” (2013-14).

She described using one of her grandkids old rusty bicycle basket, and she spray painted the basket silver to make the texture stand out.

Piece done by Alison Feaster, inspired from "Boundary Conditions" by Soo Sunny Park (2013-14). Photo By Olivia Jablonski.

Piece done by Alison Feaster, inspired from “Boundary Conditions” by Soo Sunny Park (2013-14). Photo By Olivia Jablonski.

The green and yellow stripes used around the basket were cut with construction paper, and the figure above the arrangement was a stainless steel grid, bent and woven with Plexiglass strips, Feaster said.

Feaster’s piece can be seen walking up on the LeWitt Family staircase.

Sophie Kelley, a guest and friend of Feaster, described the show as “subjective” because there are two types of art forms that are mixed together to interpret the various works of art. “There is no literal translation,” Kelley said.

The New Britain Garden Club has been a member of The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut since 1941. The museum and the Garden Club have had a working relationship for much of that history: many members of the Garden Club have given their talents to the museum as exhibitors and volunteers.

One of the museum’s gardens has been named for the New Britain Garden Club in recognition of their long service and support.

Arrangement created by Maria Nahom, piece was inspired from "Niagara Winter" by John Henry Twatchtman (ca. 1893). Photo By Olivia Jablonski.

Arrangement created by Maria Nahom, piece was inspired from “Niagara Winter” by John Henry Twatchtman (ca. 1893). Photo By Olivia Jablonski.

“The New Britain Garden Club has been in an existence for over 60 years,” Gould said. “People are eligible to join it, and it’s only one of the several garden clubs in the area.”

Floral Expressions will be on display until June 19th. Visit the front desk for a self-guided tour that will walk visitors through the exhibition and give insight into the arrangements and the art they represent.