“The Cacti”: fall for Amy Ross’s anthropomorphized flora


The Cacti by Amy Ross
10"x8" ($35) | 14"x11" ($75) | 20"x16" ($260) | 30"x24" ($1350)

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Amy Ross has been turning nature’s curiosities into fairytale creations for years, and her composites are always utterly charming. How could we miss the chance to add another to our offerings? The Cacti is our newest edition centering around Ross’s hybrid creatures, what she calls “naturemorphs”—collages of vintage-y looking human appendages with plant or mushroom bodies. The cornucopia of fruit, vegetables, and fungi already on display in her collection, now includes this trio of colorful cacti, each equipped with a pair of barefoot legs to prickle your fancy.

Indoor plant enthusiasts, nature buffs, desert dreamers, and fans of the artfully fantastical will all feel at home in the presence of these fine spiny figures. The many-stemmed amalgam at right might be mandacaru, a columnar night-blooming cactus with large, white, fragrant flowers. In the middle is what looks like resin spurge, a Moroccan native that’s actually a shrub. And is that opuntia on the left? While these three selections exhibit a wide, wonderful range of qualities, colors, and textures, the legs Ross has chosen for each of them are strikingly similar. The skin tone, the pop of the right knee, the pair of feet in a sort of subtle first position—they’re super synchronized, grounding the image and giving these diverse species a visually unifying factor. The legs are also an unexpected (and exceedingly delightful) source of contrast. Smooth, shapely, feminine, in an easy-going, passive pose, they are in many ways the opposite of the cacti’s sharp points, colorful appearance, and in-your-face exuberance.

In introducing Ross’s earlier editions, we’ve talked all about her love of flora and fauna, her ongoing exploration of folklore and mythology, and how those interests coalesce with a whimsical wink in her collages. The interplay of hard and soft in The Cacti adds a more pointed (pun intended) conversation to the mysterious, magical dialogues going on in these hybrids. How does this imaginative undertaking re-contextualize human limbs that look like this or plants of this particular predilection? That’s a question to ponder, but what’s clear in the meantime is the prompt is as pretty as can be. Cactus makes perfect. 

With art for everyone,
Team 20x200

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