Confluence "Botanical Art" exhibit

By Arlene Distler Special to the Reformer

READSBORO — Confluence Gallery's second show of the season, titled "Botanical Art," will feature the work of Bobbi Angell, Briony Morrow-Cribbs, Steven Perkins, and Ellie Roden. The show is up from June 17 to July 30.

Bobbi Angell was the illustrator for the New York Times Garden Q&A column (no longer published), and is well known in the area for her finely rendered pen and ink illustrations and etchings of flowering plants, vegetables and horticultural specimens. In recent years Angell has been printing at Gallery Wright Studio in Wilmington.

Said John Walker, curator at Confluence, "Bobbi is a practitioner of a very specific and fairly technical art form. In our digital world, the representation of detail and traditional methods she uses are a rare and special thing." Describing the work that will be shown in Confluence's "Botanical Art," Walker comments further. " Her work is hand printed individually in small editions and a select few are hand tinted with watercolor. Her work is notable for the lyrical line she achieves that takes the work further than mere illustration into the realm of fine art."

In her work for popular books like "Wicked Plants," Briony Morrow-Cribbs brings her own unique style to the tradition of botanical illustration. Born in the Bay Area and raised on an island off the coast of Washington State, Briony Morrow-Cribbs currently lives and works in southern Vermont. Morrow-Cribbs creates intensely detailed etchings and drawings, surreal versions of the natural world.

Morrow-Cribbs graduated from the Emily Carr Institute in 2005. She completed her Master's of Fine Art degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2012; from 2012 to 2014 She taught etching at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2008 she co-founded Twin Vixen Press in Brattleboro. Morrow-Cribbs characterizes her work as an attempt "to document the transformative moment when the monstrous overcomes revulsion and becomes desire." As a printmaker, she has shown both nationally and internationally.

Steven Perkins will be showing recent line drawings in pen and ink, with notations that he made in the field. Though known earlier for ultra-realistic "allegorical landscapes"--paintings with plants and the occasional critter being the protagonists -- Perkins said of his recent work, "I have focused on my botanical interests, becoming a Maine Master Naturalist, getting involved with a botanical society and doing volunteer work monitoring rare plant communities for local land trusts and the New England Wildflower Society. My recent work tends to reflect that." Furthermore, the artist explains, "This change in artistic direction was liberating and invigorating. It also very clearly felt like a return to the nature study of my childhood, rediscovering my roots as an artist and the integration of my lifelong passions -- art and nature -- in a new and simple way."

Ellie Roden, recently retired teacher who taught for many years in southern Vermont's elementary schools, creates compositions of pressed flowers. She is a master of this particular art form, using a technique that maintains the flowers' vibrant colors. She sells prints of her pictures in the form of cards and other wares in fairs, galleries and special events throughout New England. Curator John Walker said, "I have always been struck by two aspects of Ellie's work: The complex and abstract compositions she makes such as the mandalas are great art in their own right, but some of the individual specimens she has pressed are like scientific illustrations." Roden will be exhibiting the original artwork comprised of single-flower specimens and ornamental grasses culled from her garden.

Confluence gallery is located in Readsboro, in the restored Bullock Building at 7012 Main St. (Rte. 100). There is an opening reception on Friday from 5 to 7 p.m., to which the public is invited. For more information about Readsboro Arts and Confluence gallery go to


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