Ron Van Dongen's had the opening for his wonderful show of large format botanical photographs at the Froelick Gallery yesterday. It was the first time I saw his work and I was so impressed. Though the photographs were of course about flowers and plants, what resonated the most for me was the color and form that his work celebrated. The images were taken with a large format camera, converted into a very high resolution scan and then printed on watercolor paper at various scales and sizes. The largest of the editioned pieces was 40"x32" and because of the size, the actual flower form became abstracted and obscured. The use of brilliantly selected colored backgrounds for each of the flower studies, forced me to see the different elements of color and "graphics" that together came to be the flower as a whole. Each piece felt like a portrait of a beautiful character, never precious or cliche. I left the show feeling that I had come to know the flower in a way I hadn't before.
And luckily for all of us, Mr. Van Dongen also has 5 stunningly beautiful books of his photography published by Nazraeli Press, which of course we had to have a couple for ourselves. Prior to this show and very surpising to me, Mr. Van Dongen had only photographed in black and white, so we bought one of his black and white books (Nudare) and the one featuring the colored photography from this show (Effusus). The books are a wonderful reminder of a very special show, all of which can be purchased through the Froelick Gallery.