Botanica / Embracing the Beauty and Color of Nature

April 19, 2011 - June 25, 2011
Central Library, Grand Lobby

by Christian Tuempling

I have come to see nature as a curiosity.

Confined to the city most of my life, my knowledge of the natural world has been shaped by exhibitions at various institutions: giraffes in a painted landscape cage at the Bronx Zoo, replicas of natural aquatic habitat life at the New York Aquarium, swamp ferns in a steaming glass house at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, documentaries on PBS and even weekend outings to the upstate countryside. I learned what I know of the natural world from a position of safety.

I have never depended (directly) on nature to grow food. For example, since local garlic is now out of season and not available at the Grand Army Plaza farmer's market, I rely on my grocery store's garlic, imported from Argentina. My walk to the store to pick up this natural product becomes an unnatural exercise in inhaling fumes and soot.

Nature, as I know it, doesn't correlate with the nature depicted in glossy magazines. At best, news of the planet reaches me as a frightening headline or as an alarming sound bite that seems out of context with the world at large. So, to me, the natural world has become an abstraction.

As the sun turns the golden morning into noon floods, I find myself captivated by my 20-year-old avocado plant. This majestic plant that grew out of a pit dissects the sun each time the clouds give way. This display of light and shadows captures my curiosity and forms an imagined world where plants live on as photographs abstracted from the world around us.

Christian TuemplingChristian Tuempling has been an independent photographer since 1996. He exhibited his work in a solo show at Silk Road Gallery in Brooklyn. He also participated in group shows at many venues, including the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY), the Andrézieux-Bouthéon in France and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His work has been published in many publications and is a part of collections at many museums, including the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Library of Congress and MCNY.

To contact Christian Tuempling: |

BPL - Exhibition, Christian Tuempling, Botanica: Bismarckia nobilis, 2009
Bismarckia nobilis, 2009
©Christian Tuempling

BPL - Exhibition, Christian Tuempling, Botanica: Manihot esculentia
Manihot esculenta, 2008
©Christian Tuempling

BPL - Exhibition, Christian Tuempling, Botanica: Phormium tenax
Phormium tenax, 2008
©Christian Tuempling

Embracing the Beauty and Color of Nature

by Vince Vivona

I started in photography while overseas in Germany. I had a job that didn't have many requirements, so I had time on my hands. I met photographer Donald Rouse, and he introduced me to the magic of photo development. I worked hard at learning the processes of development, as well as camera technique.

When I came home, I created a darkroom in my attic—which is still there—and continued the learning experience. I got involved in my first show by pure accident. While a patient at Sloan-Kettering, I was asked to submit a photo for their yearly magazine. After my submission, they asked if I could exhibit in their show, which became the first public display of my work.

I hope that my work inspires those who view it to be more interested in both photography and nature.

The photographs in this exhibition were taken between 2001 and 2011.

Vince VivonaVince Vivona has exhibited his work at the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition, the Hoboken Arts & Music Festival, the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit and the patient show at Sloan-Kettering. His work was also chosen as the program cover art for the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center's Survivorship Day event.

To contact Vince Vivona: |

BPL - Exhibition, Vince Vivona, Embracing the Beauty and Color of Nature: A Gathering of Leaves
A  Gathering of Leaves
©Vince Vivona

BPL - Exhibition, Vince Vivona, Embracing the Beauty and Color of Nature: Butterfly in Color
Butterfly in Color
©Vince Vivona

BPL - Exhibition, Vince Vivona, Embracing the Beauty and Color of Nature:  fall Leaves
Fall Leaves
©Vince Vivona