X-FloraBryan Whitney 3 Mar - 10 Apr 2022The images in this exhibition are radiographs. Whitney is one of the foremost practitioners of this technique for artistic purposes and he has created x-ray images for over 20 years, and exhibited them internationally. He has written about x-rays in art and his work has been featured in books and magazines including Martha Stewart, Garden Design, Fortune, Wired, Italian Vogue, and Harpers Bazaar.
There are no cameras or lenses involved in the process. The plants are placed directly in front of the film and x-rays are beamed through the object and onto the film, revealing the beautiful inner structure of the flora. Whitney uses high resolution, large format x-ray film which he develops in the darkroom. The resulting image is the same size as the subject, similar to a photogram, where an object is placed on a sheet of photo paper.
After the negative film is scanned, the digital image is carefully adjusted to capture the delicate details and tones of the plants. A great deal of work goes into separating the plant from the background, adjusting contrast, and in the case of the positive images, painting in color. The finished radiograph is then printed on high quality archival paper. The refined appearance of these images gives them the look of etchings or watercolors.
Their beauty derives from their delicate transparency and the spare aesthetic of their composition where the negative space around the plants is as important as the subject itself. Technology is used by scientists to analyze and understand nature but here it is used by an artist to skillfully reveal a structural elegance that is hidden to the human eye. The preservation of the natural world has become increasingly important as we realize the threat we pose to the ecosystems of our planet. These botanical x-rays encourage us to appreciate and connect with nature, which is important for our own survival.