Nachtblume I

“Nachtblume I” – Original sculpture by MJ Seal. Paper ephemera, jute rope, PVA glue and acrylic, 20” x 19” x 10.5”. C. 2021
This is the first of what I think will be a large series of “Nachtblumen” or “Night Flowers”. I got the idea after seeing images of luminous fungi in the Amazon rainforest. I wanted to come up with a series of sculptures that would resemble fungal fruiting bodies in bloom. They are made primarily from mashed up paper ephemera which I like as a metaphor for daily experiences – as it literally is the physical remains of the day. The fluorescent paint gives an effect like certain glow-in-the-dark funguses that inspired this project. It also imparts that surreal, dream-like quality I was going for.
The fluorescent colors are quite eye-catching under normal light
But they really come to life under the black light
These colors are not exaggerated in any way
It was actually quite difficult to photograph this- esp the “spores” at the top- without blowing out all the color
The body of this sculpture was painted black then I wiped it down with red fluorescent paint. The effect was striking and gives me ideas for future projects.
I can imagine this growing in some deep dark jungle- or the bottom of some alien sea. When/if these ever get displayed in a gallery I’m envisioning them growing out of a bed of loose, waded up paper ephemera. Most modern papers fluoresce an eerie, electric teal color and I like the idea of these night flowers sprouting out from a bed of fallen leaves of paper- like fungus on a forest floor.


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