new-york

Arnold Fern

Feature Inc.

At least since the publication of Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal, 1857, the image of the flower has shouldered symbolist overtones that distinguish it from the other so-called natural subjects. Artists as diverse as Vincent van Gogh, Odilon Redon, Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol, Lowell Nesbitt, Robert Kushner, Judy Chicago, Robert Mapplethorpe, Gilbert and George, Colette, Jim Isermann, and Christopher Williams have exploited this distinction. Even if most floral depictions can claim no special significance, an outright convergence of beauty and sexuality makes the image of the flower seem less innocent than nature is supposed to be, offering contemporary artists an opportunity to revel in organic form without necessarily looking insipid.

In this recent show, Arnold Fern has considerably honed his approach. If a rambling lyricism once characterized his work, he now paints flower paintings

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