Wave Hill, New York 2020

23rd Annual International of the American Society of Botanical Artists ASBA

left: Disc 20, 2013, oil on wood, diameter 40 cm
middle and right: works by Jeanne Reiner and Lucy Martin

Story behind the art of Andreas Hentrich

Nelumbo nucifera

When I attended an exhibition project in Japan, in fall 2012, I became aware of the numerous lotus plantings. You can find them in the countryside along the roads as well as in private or public gardens. It is a rare sight for a Middle-European viewer so I decided to go into more detail with the plant as an art motif.

I usually work according to my own photographic drafts, so I was looking for interesting motifs on several occasions while discovering the botanical diversity of the country. My search was successful at the well-known Ritsurin Garden on Shikoku Island, where the lotus grows at many lakes and hidden places. Due to the fall foliage, most of the leaves had already changed their colors, which led to an attractive colorful diversity. In addition, some of the larger leaves folded together in a way that the lighter bottom side of the leaves rested on the yellowish-green upper side. This had the effect that a colorful contrast was created, which I used as a structural element for the composition of the painting.

Since I wanted to use the lotus motif also for my series “Discs”, I paid extra attention to the balance of both color regions when choosing the pictured image detail. The motifs for the series (all oil on wood) were photographed vertically from above, so that actually there is no top or bottom in the picture. The painting is then fixed to the wall with a center screw on the back, so that the viewer is always able to turn the painting, imitating a walk around the plant and discovering new perspectives, giving the viewer the opportunity to encounter the painting again and again.

I often choose only a small detail of a plant or a leaf as a motif, because I am especially interested in the abstract potential of the motif. I did this in the painting Nelumbo nucifera, which developed from numerous tiny color fields combining into an artwork that from a distance can also be perceived as a mere composition of colors.

[ close ]