Mary Shisler

My work draws attention to the astonishing beauty of the natural world. In this series, FACES ON THE WALL, I focus on the innate individuality in all of us. Generally, Pansies, Poppies and Violas are used as “riot of color” in mass plantings. Yet, we see in each of them a statement of uniqueness. 

Even within the same plant, such as the image, Violas on a Boat, all of the blooms sport a different splash of markings. With their whiskers and such, they struck me as being a bit tipsy as well. 

Psychopomps in the Jungian world designate creatures that lead from the conscious to the unconscious world. Purples and blues are very rare in the plant world and the color has many associations such as with royalty, gay rights, courage and bravery (The Purple Heart), royalty, and intellectuality. 

Unfortunately, some refer to gay people as pansies. This reference only fueled my desire to use them and increased their value in my eyes as a way of inspiring people to see one another as individuals beyond an old cultural referent. 

Somnambula comes from A Midsommer’s Nights Dream where Puck brings a pansy and squeezes its juices into the eyes of the lovers. Pansies are also thought of as “Cupid’s Flower”. 

The blooms seemed to design their own compositions especially Grumpy, Creamy Pansy, Pansy Rider and Burgundy Buckeroo. They just dropped into the shape. The poppies also spoke for themselves. Dance with Me is just my final word. 

I always feel close to Anna Atkins, my great inspiration, when I work with the subjects of my images. She chose to “make a contribution to botany” and made the first book ever illustrated with photographic images, BRITISH ALGAE, CYANOTYPE IMPRESSIONS. The traditions of Wabi Sabi contributed to this series with the choice of using such humble plants to illustrate my theme. The drama Karl Blossfeldt imbued into even his most simple topics such as a leaf or twig added as well. 

For more information about Mary Shisler, please visit her website.