Two orchids on a geometric backdrop

Since San Francisco’s shelter in place ordinance started in March, I’ve been unable to take ikebana classes. I’ve sporadically bought some flowers to make ikebana, but I’ve mostly been sticking to simple Moribana arrangements. They’re low effort, but still manage to liven up my dining room (and my mood). I haven’t posted them on this blog, because they’re… pretty basic. It’s more for me, rather than developing a new skill in ikebana or continuing the Sogetsu curriculum.

This overall lack of motivation/willpower/energy/whatever, has crept into many aspects of life outside of ikebana. I have a feeling I am not alone in this – the world is pretty bleak right now. Sometimes it feels like there’s so little to look forward to, being cooped up at home all day out of fear of making yourself or someone else extremely sick.

In response to these feelings, I’ve been trying to create new escapes for myself. The latest one has been buying more art books. Before coronavirus hit, I made it a priority to see art shows in San Francisco, LA, New York, etc. I’m no longer able to enjoy art in person, so being surrounded by art in my home is a nice reprieve (and demands less of me than reading a novel or non-fiction book).

Recently, I bought three of Robert Mapplethorpe’s flower compilation books. Maybe partially because of nostalgia? I saw a show dedicated to him at the Guggenheim in New York in January (which feels like an eternity ago).

Implicit Tensions:Mapplethorpe Now displayed his work for the first half of the year, and the latter half showed works by other contemporary artists. Ironically, I missed Mapplethorpe’s work being on display, and caught the group show. However, this piqued my interest in him and his work. I didn’t realize until recently that he shot tons of still lifes.

His flower photography is really beautiful, and I thought I’d share some with you.

A flower stem coming out of a glass, transparent vase. There is another glass vase beside the one with the flower stem

An orchid elegantly arcing out of a glass vase

Two roses shot on a midtone background, with a darker rectangle to the right

A single rose, centered on a black background

A single tulip, arcing down towards the ground on a midtone gray background

Two lillies in the bottom right corner, on a scrunched up cloth background

Images are taken from Pistils (1996), Mapplethorpe Flora: The Complete Flowers (2016), and Flowers (1990), and shot on my phone (so I apologize for the poor image quality).