Leon Hedgepeth, @millsrd_ @leonhedgepeth
The fine art of floristry will be flourishing at KINK Contemporary on Waterloo Road starting Thursday with the in-person opening of 'I Shall Not Survive You,'
a new collection of work by Kate Rutter.
Opening at 5 p.m. that day, the week-long exhibition is best enjoyed early on when the specimens are in fullest bloom.
Rutter, a self-described “intuitive florist, multidisciplinary fine artist, and mother above all,” has expressed herself through mediums such as photography, jewelry, textiles, ceramics, sculpture, collage, and most recently floristry.
The title of the exhibition is derived from a book of Victorian floriography called “The Language of Flowers” by Kate Greenway (1884). Floriography is an ancient cryptological practice reflecting the psychic life of flowers as they communicate emotions to their viewers. In Greenway’s book, she assigned the meaning of blackberry as, “I shall not survive you.”
“When I read that, it was like a punch to gut,” said Rutter. “I felt it deeply.”
Showcased Thursday at their peak beauty and vitality, Rutter wants viewers to participate in what the press release describes as “a transfer of energy and healing from one life to another.” The flowers will wither and transition their form throughout the lifespan of this show, which runs through Wednesday, December 22nd.
“As you witness the natural cycle of a flower (closed, open, and decayed) without judgment, it becomes easier to view your own rhythms with the same sense of non-judgment and detachment,” said Rutter. “The inevitable transition of flowers is a sacred example of the beautiful phases we carry within ourselves in all realms of life. We are constantly blooming and dying and blooming again.”
Through this display, Rutter addresses her personal history by examining her experience with pregnancy, early motherhood in relation to travel, the longing and disillusionment of love, and the transience of her son’s father. Rutter said that “as the flowers die so does the pain of those memories, thus freeing me. It serves as a healing experience intended to transform and uplift, both myself and the viewer.”
“My practice is built on the belief that flowers heal,” she said. “When I was pregnant with my son, I was so hyper vigilant in wanting to protect him from the heartbreak I was experiencing. Our feelings have distinct vibrational frequencies, and I kept thinking, ‘I can’t imprint this onto him.’ But synchronicities kept drawing flowers into my life. My floral practice not only enabled me to be at home with him, but they have imprinted our home and our lives with beauty and lightness. Beauty creates more lightness, which creates more beauty.”
Rutter received he BFA from Kent State University. While living in the Pacific Northwest and working as a creative director, stylist, and artist, Rutter began an apprenticeship in floral design and learned the nuances of floristry where she began to utilize herbal medicines, flower essences, and what she refers to as “the subtle healing energies of the natural world.”
“I have a deep relationship with the spiritual realm, specifically with flowers,” said Rutter. “I started on my journey in 2011 when I apprenticed at a flower shop in Portland, Oregon where I cultivated a pretty deep relationship with the flowers and plants in the shop. I ‘geeked-out’ on literature like Pam Montgomery’s 'Plant Spirit Healing' and Peter Thompson’s 'The Secret Life of Plants.' The following year, I met my dear friend Rachel Blume of 'Essence of the Mother,' who taught me how to journey with flowers and introduced me to flower essences.”
The flowers in the exhibition were sourced with intention and Rutter preordered specific blooms that she felt she needed to represent the meanings provided in Greenway’s book. She also chose flowers from local flower markets a few days before the show, picking them in-person through what she calls ‘an intuitive process.’
“It’s not really something you can explain, it’s just a knowingness or an energetic pull to certain blooms,” said Rutter. “I feel which ones want to come through and I am drawn to them naturally,”
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