Herbals I-II

In my current practice, I juxtapose plant illustrations from the first secular books printed in Europe in the 1500s with modern images, often based on my own photos of similar plants. I am exploring how this contrast between ancient and modern plant pictures captures the timeless, mysterious and often ambiguous relationships between plants and humans.

Series II – Habitats (Lakes)

Little Black Lake, (floor installation, 6’x4′ using various papers). My interpretation of a woodcut illustration from an herbal dating around 1500, cut-outs of its leaf shapes, and a photopolymer gravure of a waterlily are assembled on a matrix which follows the shoreline of Little Black Lake in central Ontario.

Kishkebus Lake (floor installation, approx. 5’x4′ using various papers). Cut-outs of waterlily leaves, a digital woodcut of a waterlily and a photopolymer gravure of the same flower I photographed at Kishkebus Lake in Frontenac Park, Ontario, are assembled on a matrix that follows the shoreline of the lake.

Series II – Habitats (Pond)


Here’s a sneak preview of work in progress this spring and summer. This woodcut of a water lily (above) was first printed in Germany in the 1499. Likely, the woodcut is based on a drawing made in Italy. My interpretation of it comes alive in an animated igital pond.

Series I

The Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes by John Gerard was printed in 1597 in London. Below the garden crocus (Crocus Sativus) and the Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum) which is native to Canada. I start with a wood engraving from the Herbal and continue with my own photos. 8×10 riso prints on Mohawk paper.

Some key sources for this project:

Arber, Agnes. Herbals: Their Origin and Evolution. A Chapter in the History of Botany 1470-1670. Cambridge University Press, 1912.

Tomic, Milena. Course materials: The History of Printmaking, OCADU, Toronto, ON. 2020

Wicks, Tristan. Latin translations and project feedback.