Queen of the Night
© Cy Decosse , 1998

‘Cy DeCosse - Flowers and Other Sensual Pleasures’

11/17 to 1/9/2008

From the press release...

Candace Dwan Gallery, Katonah is pleased to announce an exhibition of photographs by the acclaimed photographer Cy DeCosse.

This exhibition gives an over view of the sensuous nature of DeCosse’s subject matter – flowers. Some of his flowers come from as far away as the jungles of South America. Others can be found just beyond the garden gate. But all are equally exotic when seen through the lens of DeCosse’s imagination. Removed from their familiar surroundings and isolated against an abstract background, even less unusual flowers like thistles assume a mysterious poetic quality. Each blossom in turn, stars in its own private drama, revealing its true essence in an intimate way. As John Stevenson has said the flowers are more like portraits, each with their own distinct personality.

DeCosse’s technique also has a mysterious quality to it. He specializes in platinum printing, a venerable technique that imbeds the precious metals of platinum and palladium into the surface of fine art papers, creating images of exceptional depth and richness. He uses a number of cameras, among them a 120-year-old 16 x 20” glass plate portrait camera. He believes that a camera is like an artist’s paintbrush and chooses a certain one depending on the effect he wants to achieve. His 19th century processes ensure works of art that will last for hundreds of years.

“An artist can create the gardens of his or her own fancy – from those of the perplexing Earthly Delights of Hieronymous Bosch to the more obvious earthly ones of Manet’s Dejeuner sur herbe. So, too, Cy DeCosse, as dedicated a craftsman as a Bosch or a Manet, creates his paradisal gardens of strange and beautiful flora from light and alchemical combinations of platinum and palladium salts, and from the baroque choreography of his own inspiration. And they are unlike anyone else’s and unlike anything anyone has seen before” – John Wood

Perhaps the most powerful example of DeCosse’s focus and attention is illustrated in the story The Queen of the Night, by Scott Ely, which appears in the book The Gardens of DeCosse which accompanies the exhibition. Ely describes what must surely be a spiritual experience for the horticulturist (comparable perhaps to those art pilgrims who journey to the Lightning Field to experience Walter DeMaria’s collaboration between man and nature) - the blooming of a rare and exotic plant which takes place only once every seven years at night under very particular conditions in an arboretum. The story was inspired by DeCosse’s photographs and narrates exquisitely the excitement and tension experienced by a photographer and a botanist awaiting this rare event.

artists in exhibition