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Southlake Style

Southlake Resident Showcases Botanical Diversity at Fort Worth Exhibit

Jul 17, 2017 11:12AM ● By Audrey Sellers

Image courtesy Dornith Doherty

For nearly 10 years, Southlake resident and artist Dornith Doherty has traveled the world photographing seed banks. Starting next month, her photographs will be on display at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. The free exhibit, Dornith Doherty: Archiving Eden, runs August 12 through January 14, 2018. All are invited to view how Doherty intertwines science and art, showcasing the planet’s botanical diversity through 15 images from seed banks across the world. 

If you’re not familiar, seed banks are designed to preserve the world’s crops and plants against species loss brought by blight, development, global warming, pests, unexpected change and war. Long interested in how humans shape the land, Doherty took it upon herself to explore seed vaults and the activities of their research scientists. Besides documenting the appearance of these vaults, Doherty created X-rays of a wide array of plant seeds with the assistance of scientists. She then transformed the X-ray images into poetic odes to protecting the world’s botanical diversity.

“The artist used a variety of photographic approaches to create these remarkable images that symbolize biodiversity loss,” said John Rohrbach, senior curator of photographs, in a press release. “A seven-foot-high lenticular construction showing X-rays of 1,400 ash tree seeds collected by the National Center for Genetic Resource Preservation in Fort Collins, Colorado, reflects the ongoing decimation of ash trees across North America by the ash tree borer. Her array of five banana-seedling clones illustrates scientists’ race to develop a new banana strain to replace our standard grocery store version, which may soon be lost to blight.”

Rohrbach says some ecologists suggest that earth is losing more than 10 animal and plant species each day, and he hopes visitors will ponder the plight of plants across the globe and in their own backyards.

“The exhibition asks us to consider the ongoing work of scientists and volunteers who work, far behind the noise of our daily newsfeeds, to protect earth’s botanical diversity,” Rohrbach said. “It is a call to reflect on the beauty, variety, and most of all, the fragility of our world’s plant life.” 

Dornith Doherty: Archiving Eden was organized by the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. A book of the same name accompanies the exhibition and will be sold in the museum store.

The artist will present a free lecture and book signing at the museum on November 4 at 10:30 a.m. This program on American art, culture and society is made possible by a generous gift from the late Anne Burnett Tandy.

A 2012 Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, Doherty was born in Houston, graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts from Rice University and received a Master of Fine Arts in Photography from Yale University. She currently resides in Southlake and is a distinguished research professor at the University of North Texas, where she has been on the faculty since 1996.