The Women’s Institute of Houston is hosting “Floral Landscapes”, a unique art exhibit featuring Rice professor and photographer James Pomerantz’s photos of flowers that have been imposed on canvas. A reception is scheduled at 4:30 p.m. on February 22, 2014, at the Women’s Institute of Houston, and is open to everyone. We visited with Pomerantz to find out more about his work.
WIH Reporter: Can you tell us about this exhibition?
Pomerantz: The twenty images in this “Floral Landscapes” exhibit are all macro photographs of flowers, photographs shot close up to reveal details the eye often misses. My goal is to capture commonplace flowers from uncommon perspectives, and to capture the pure essence of a flower, a distillation of the blossom’s defining character.
WIH Reporter: What should we know about your history and about your work?
Pomerantz: My two passions in work and play are photography – color, light, and form – and cognitive neuroscience – the way the eye and brain make sense of the images flowing into our eyes. I conduct research on how people see color, motion, depth, texture, and form. Cameras and lenses work differently from eyes and brains, but I find the combination of the two fascinating.
WIH Reporter: What do you hope people take away from your work?
Pomerantz: I hope the take-away includes a heightened appreciation of the beauty and structure in the world around us, so elegantly captured by flowers; but also an enhanced awareness of the limitations of our senses, which give us only the narrowest sampling of the world around us. By far most of what exists in the universe is too large or too small for us to see; most things change too quickly or too slowly for us to spot the change; they reflect wavelengths of light too long or too short for humans to capture. Insects see complex geometric patterns on the same flower petals that appear to the human eye to have solid color. By using the camera and lens as a tool, we can see the remarkable details of the microscopic world around us.
WIH Reporter: Is there anything else we should know?
Pomerantz: I’m grateful to the Women’s Institute of Houston for hosting this exhibition; to Suzanne Street for her excellent work in curating these particular images; to Dr. Siripoom McKay for her wisdom and remarkable taste; to my longtime photography teacher Peter T. Brown for his keen eye, gentle critiques, and inspiration; and to my wife Dean Mary McIntire for her encouragement, her patience, and her love. And yes, also for the flowers Mary buys me every week.
The “Floral Landscapes” exhibition will continue through May, 2014.