In honor of the 40th anniversary of the Artist in Residence Program and Kentucky Women’s Suffrage Centennial in 2020, Bernheim presents FEMMEnomenal Bluegrass Botanicals by Gabriella Boros (see bio below). This exhibition celebrates the extraordinary achievements of ten Kentucky women through the invocation of ten native Kentucky plants and can be seen in various locations around the Lake Nevin Loop.
The work originated from a series of sketches, meticulously carved into woodblocks that once printed were photographed, digitally enhanced and enlarged onto fabric banners. Each banner is accompanied by a brief biography of the woman, information about the plant they represent and the relationship between the two.
FEMMEnomenal Bluegrass Botanicals draws on the parallels between historical Kentucky women and the beauty and resilience of nature. Native Kentucky plants continue their legacy every season by spreading their roots deeper and dropping their seeds for the continued survival of their species. Women continue their legacy through the generations of women that follow their lead, learning from their successes and failures, taking that knowledge forward to make their lives and the lives of others better, to continue the survival of not only their species but for the survival of human-kind.
FEMMEnomenal Bluegrass Botanicals celebrates the collective value women have had on our history, and much like the native plants in Kentucky, despite all the challenges, are still here, standing tall and beautiful, each in their own way.
This notable exhibition has been made possible in part with the support of a 2020 Art Meets Activism grant from the Kentucky Foundation For Women. Special thanks to Unique Imaging Concepts in Louisville for printing the work onto fabric panels and to Bernheim volunteers Sandy Nafziger and Linda Crouch for fabricating the banners.
FEMMEnomenal Women and their corresponding plants:
- Sadie Price, renowned botanist; Price’s Groundnut and Tufted Yellow Woodsorrel
- Amanda Bernheim, nature and arts advocate; Kentucky Coffeetree
- Florence Brandeis, physician, feminist, suffragette; Liverleaf
- Sally Shallenberger Brown, environmentalist; American Yellowwood Tree
- Willa Beatrice Brown, first Black American female licensed pilot; Shooting Star
- Alice Allison Dunnigan, journalist, activist and author; Cranefly Orchid
- Jean Ritchie, musician and archivist of Appalachian lore; Pawpaw Tree
- Dr. Grace Marilynn James, race-barrier-breaking pediatrician; Harbinger of Spring
- Suzy Post, civil rights activist; Jacob’s Ladder
- Judi Conway Patton, Cherokee activist for women and child safety; Guyandotte Beauty
About the Artist: Born in Israel to Holocaust survivors, printmaker and photographer Gabriella Boros immigrated to the United States as a young child. Her love for the narrative was derived from the rich heritage of her European parentage, Israeli childhood and American influences. Her woodblock prints are feminist, often botanical and at times spiritual. Boros’ narrations pique the imagination with a universal appeal. The artist has a BFA from the University of Michigan School of Art and currently lives and works in the Chicago area.
Boros has been included in numerous solo and group shows since 1988. In 2019 she had two solo shows, one at the Dittmar Gallery of Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois) and one in Stockholm, Sweden. Boros was selected for a two-week residency in 2018 at Grand Marais Artist Colony in Minnesota for which she received an Illinois Arts Council Grant.
2020 marks the 40th anniversary of Bernheim’s Artist in Residence program. Established in 1980, this internationally renowned program annually awards artists the opportunity to live and create site-specific work inspired by their total immersion experience at Bernheim. Throughout 2020, we are celebrating the contributions of the program’s past that has allowed our visitors to experience nature in a new way while enhancing awareness of Bernheim’s mission of connecting people to nature.