Bouquets to Art Welcomes Orinda Garden Club Members at de Young

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(Elana O’Loskey, Photographer)
Mari Tischenko of the Orinda Garden Club participated in the world-class exhibit ”Bouquets to Art” held at the de Young Museum in San Francisco from June 6 – 12. She created the floral design pictured here that echoes artist Charles Sheeler’s painting entitled Catwalk (1947).

    Orinda Garden Club members Diana Kennedy, Phoebe Kahl and Mari Tischenko helped San Francisco’s de Young Museum celebrate its 38th year of Bouquets to Art exhibitions. The three were among designers chosen to interpret a de Young artwork with an accompanying floral design they fashioned. About 800,000 people have visited the exhibit since it began in 1984.
    This was the first full in-person Bouquets to Arts since 2019. It was virtual in 2020 and at a limited capacity in 2021.
    Art in the de Young’s permanent collection was displayed in over 24 galleries on three floors to make room for the individual floral designs that accompanied them. The artwork included paintings, sculptures, objects and architecture. This eclectic approach to art provided unique features for 100 volunteer floral designers to interpret.
    Orinda Garden Club members Kennedy and Kahl were assigned Chiuri Obata’s large painting, “Lake Basin in the High Sierras,” (1930) located in Main Floor Gallery 11. For over 20 years, these gardeners have enjoyed the challenge of relating their floral designs to the museum’s artwork.
    This year’s design included hydrangea, anthuriums, fan palms, plastic swirls, statice and Phaleonopsis orchids. The two designers painted smooth cylindrical gourds blue and placed them in the front and back of their design.
    Fellow Orinda Garden Club member Tischenko is no newcomer to the challenge of this exhibition. This is her 12th year of interpreting de Young artwork via floral designs.
    Her assignment was Charles Sheeler’s Catwalk (1947), also in Main Floor Gallery 11.
    “I was drawn to the industrial architectural, clean lines, crisp color palette, geometric forms and the composition of deconstructed parts transformed into an exciting whole in this piece,” said Tischenko.
    Since her background is Sogetsu Ikebana, she is drawn to a minimal approach, geometric forms and unconventional materials. Sogetsu, founded in Japan in 1927 but practiced throughout the world, is one of several ikebana flower-arranging schools. The Sogetsu School, deeply rooted in Japanese tradition, embraced the modern age. 
    “Sometimes a piece calls for an abundance of floral material and sometimes that simply gets in the way,” said Tischenko. “I kept removing material and editing until it felt just right.”
    In her design, she used a metal ikebana container, aluminum grid structure/original fabrication, 90” positioning squares, Anthurium (red and white), Philodendron leaves, acrylic cut-out circle and ping pong balls.
    Tischenko pointed out that the whole viewing experience at Bouquets to Art is unique because in a normal exhibit the social aspect is missing.
    “People examine, critique and share much more with one another,” she said. “This seems to encourage a more interactive, shared encounter with art and artist.”
    To learn more about Bouquets to Art at the de Young, visit https://deyoung.famsf.org/bouquets-to-art. For information about the Orinda Garden Club, go to www.orindagc.org.

Elana O’Loskey can be reached at business.orinda@gmail.com.

(Elana O’Loskey, Photographer)
Diana Kennedy and Phoebe Kahl of the Orinda Garden Club, interpreted Chiusi Obata’s large painting Lake Basin in the High Sierras (1930) at the de Young Museum’s recent “Bouquets to Art” exhibit. The Phaleonopsis orchids they used soften the lines of their design and contrast with the smooth cylindrical gourds painted a deep lustrous blue. This blue references the color of the lake in the painting. Diana Kennedy and Phoebe Kahl of the Orinda Garden Club, interpreted Chiusi Obata’s large painting Lake Basin in the High Sierras (1930) at the de Young Museum’s recent “Bouquets to Art” exhibit. The Phaleonopsis orchids they used soften the lines of their design and contrast with the smooth cylindrical gourds painted a deep lustrous blue. This blue references the color of the lake in the painting.

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