Deepening Roots: Our Growing Connections to the Botanical World

An amazing new series of "plant profile" paintings by celebrated local artist Ashley Cecil will capture your imagination and challenge your perceptions of the relationships between people and plants.

Plants often go unnoticed despite the essential roles they play in the lives of all humans. Plants provide the clothes on our backs, the frames of our homes, the food on our plates and much, much more. Deepening Roots: Our Growing Connections to the Botanical World explores six of these deep human-botanical bonds, some familiar and some unexpected.

These “plant profiles” are the result of Ashley Cecil’s residency at Phipps during which the painter and textile designer spent months with Phipps staff exploring the ways plants support and enhance human well-being. The most profound examples became the subjects of Ashley’s vibrant paintings, which she translated into her signature patterns. Each pattern is overlaid with the silhouette of someone in the region whose work embodies that connection.

Each piece celebrates plants that are essential to us and an individual harnessing that botanical benefit, which Ashley hopes will deepen your own personal connection to nature.

Events and More

An interactive mural, special promotion and gallery reception provide additional ways to connect with Deepening Roots. Read on to learn more!

Sample Works

Following are several of the paintings that appear in Deepening Roots. Read the show's descriptive panels to learn more about the individual works and the people and plants that inspired them.

Clothing • 36” x 48” acrylic on archival print • Inspired by beech trees (Fagus spp.) and Nisha Blackwell, fashion entrepreneur and founder of Knotzland

Mitigation • 36” x 48” acrylic on archival print • Inspired by moss phlox (Phlox subulata), quill fameflower (Phemeranthus teretifolius), narrow leaf goldenroad (Euthamia graminifolia), white heath aster (Symphiotrichum ericoides) and Shawn Taylor, green infrastructure leader at Landforce

Sustenance • 36” x 48” acrylic on archival print • Inspired by collard greens (Brassica oleracae var. acephala), sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima) and Leah Lizarondo, food waste educator and founder of 412 Food Rescue

Drawing Inspiration

In this selection of photos taken during Ashley Cecil’s residency, you can see the immersive influence of Phipps on her work as she moves from step to step in the creative process. 

About the Artist

Ashley Cecil specializes in paintings of flora and fauna that illustrate the connections between the natural world and us, its human inhabitants. Her work includes collaborations close to home with several beloved Pittsburgh institutions such as the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, as well as far-flung adventures to biological oases like the Amazon rainforest. The aim of her artwork is to endear you to nature by making scientists’ understanding of it relatable to our everyday lives.

Deepening Roots: Our Growing Connections to the Botanical World will remain open through Sun., March 17. Please visit The Shop at Phipps for related products and to inquire about purchasing original artworks.

More Events You’ll Enjoy

  • Birds and Botany: Works by Ashley Cecil

    This Exhibit Has Ended

    On display in our Welcome Center Gallery, this exhibition showcases the work of local artist Ashley Cecil, who was inspired by the impact of window collisions on local bird species to create a variety of media including paintings, wallpaper and bird-safe window film.