Karen Azoulay

The Botanist's Mime

July 2016

Karen Azoulay has long taken a highly allegorical approach to depictions of nature, landscapes, and the body. In her most recent work, she uses floriography as her point of departure. Known as "the language of flowers," floriography is a form of coded communication that was popular in Victorian times. Botanical species were assigned sentimental meanings that were collected in exhaustive dictionaries, the blooms’ symbolism varying in tone from sweet to sinister.

Azoulay's gestural bouquets blur the line between sculpture and photography. After making an arrangement of carefully selected fresh flowers, hand symbols, and mud, she captures the wilting artifact as a digital photograph. "A New Leaf" is a large, moody collage of silk paper UV-printed with images of lumpy hands and leaves, layers of colored tissue, gouache, and oil pastel. Also on view is "Message," a hand-tinted, silkscreen print which depicts the American Sign Language signal for ‘vagina’, complimented by a bearded iris (indicating ‘I have a message’) and a bloom of justicia (‘the perfection of female loveliness’). This edition is being released via Dose Projects' online platform, which links artists with charities that they are passionate about. Half of all proceeds from "Message" will be donated to Planned Parenthood.

Karen Azoulay is a Canadian, multi-disciplinary artist based in Brooklyn. Recent projects include a group show at Erin Stump Projects in Toronto, the release of her book Flowers and Their Meanings, and "The Perennial," a curatorial project staged in Prospect Park. Upcoming solo projects include shows at Drew University in Madison, NJ, and The Mount, Edith Wharton’s country estate in Lenox, MA.

View Karen Azoulay on Dose Projects