detail of "Blossom", 2020

silk organza, petal powder, latex, seeds

Poppies are associated with dream states, sleep, passion, death and remembrance. They grow quickly over tilled fields in the spring, hence their association with Demeter, the Greek goddess of fertility but also, with war. In English-speaking countries, red poppies are worn to honor veterans,   In France the blue cornflower serves this purpose. In Persian poetry their petals symbolize passion. In California, poppies are not red, but golden.

The narcotic properties of poppies have been known since ancient times. In China poppies evoke colonialism and the Opium wars. I study the line between ecstasy and addiction  by  working with seeds and latex, paint, cloth, seeds, petals, and words. I notice that working with diverse materials alters my psyche, even while a an identifiable style persists.

As I work I  sometimes recall the springy sensation of a joyfully walking  in a field near Marrakesh. At other times, I  contemplate the history of dreams and destruction sown by these evanescent dream-flowers, memory petals, and talismans  of quick-fading passions and life itself.

 © 2020 by Susan Ossman

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