Experience a thought-provoking exhibit featuring BiblioBotany sculptures — created from upcycled books and their pages — by Lisa Meek.
In our Welcome Center Gallery, Phipps is pleased to host the BiblioBotany sculptures of Lisa Meek. To reflect complex social issues, Meek looks for symbolism in each page and flower she uses to encourage people to process ideas in new ways. For her display at Phipps, Meek chose to feature sculptures that all revolve around the topic of protecting our land, water and the species who depend on it. Each piece highlights the inextricable connection between humans and nature to emphasize the importance of how we care for the land and our impacts on the future.
My BiblioBotany sculptures are literally made from the pages of books. The books and flowers were chosen for their subject matter, symbolism and unique qualities (edible, medicinal etc.). I am a lover of books, so please forgive me. I have torn their pages, and I have cut their bindings. I lightly paint the pages on both sides to create the colors and tones needed for each plant and flower. I want enough print to remain visible so the origin is remembered. I crease, fold, twist and coax the pages to become something new.
I am also a lover of weeds. If it flowers, I see beauty. From the tiniest weed in a sidewalk crack to the vast open expanses of meadows and roadsides, I honor their beauty and tenacity. We claim some to cultivate, and then hybridize them into “garden-worthy” varieties — no longer lowly weeds. It is not much of a leap for me to analogize this to how human value is sometimes perceived.
Flowers are laden with symbolism. A white carnation symbolizes love and good luck. A yellow carnation means rejection. I choose flowers and plants carefully to reflect my thoughts and emotions regarding complex social issues.
Books make me think. They help me process ideas, emotions and history. Through the act of creating these pieces, I have come across some unexpected great reads. I also worry that actual printed books will fall away. Viewers of my sculptures have exclaimed with delight when they recognize an old textbook or a classic read.
The pieces I chose for Phipps Conservatory revolve around a topic that is dear to my heart. From weeds to invasive plants and insects we are all interconnected. It's essential that we change how we approach gardening to embrace sustainable native species and care that we leave enough natural land areas for all humans and nonhuman beings. I want to draw people in to look closely and connect with my work.
BiblioBotany runs from Jan. 9 – March 12. Select exhibited works are for sale. Please inquire through the Shop at Phipps.
Photos © Lisa Meek
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