Death and life intertwine in the meticulously rendered drawings by Jamie Sweetman. The millennia old quest sees a rebirth in the form of an anatomical fusion between human skeletal remains, freshly harvested organs, and sensual succulents with their entrancing flowers. Beauty and terror coexist as the carnivorous plants find sustenance by feeding on what was once a living human being. The bloom costs dearly. It is comforting to know, however, that in perishing, nature blossoms.
Perhaps Sweetman’s technically precise, masterful images narrate the post-apocalyptic future when Earth is free of all humans. The life carries on, putting nothing to waste. Even the bones become the means to support the vertically thrusting growth of the plants. A reversal of roles is witnessed. After the extinction, the beauty remains and continues to thrive, though there is no one left to exercise his or her aesthetic sensibilities — what an unfortunate scenario.
So maybe, these monochromatic floral landscapes, dutifully colored in earthy browns and reds, are meant to deliver a dire warning. Change the ways and chart a new course or else go the way of the buffaloes. Compositionally visible in some and cognitively hinted in others, symmetry, which is inherent in the human skeletal structure, implies the critical importance of balance; not just in anatomy but also for the societal, cultural, and spiritual order. Open the eyes, lend the ears, and take heed to Sweetman’s proposition.
Jamie Sweetman lives and works in Los Angeles. Sweetman holds MFA from California State University Long Beach. The artist teaches at University of Southern California, California State University Long Beach, J. Paul Getty Museum, and Azusa Pacific University. Explore her work at sweetmanart.com. Sweetman is currently included in Flora at Museum of Art and History (Lancaster, CA). The last chance to see the exhibition is this Saturday, June 28, 2015.
All images courtesy of artist.