Erin Lynn Welsh shares the unexpected results from her investigation into the history of sexual botany, which influenced her latest series Carnal Botany. Her discovery that women were barred from studying botany, despite gardening being a traditionally feminine domain, inspired the series of riotous colors and decisively textured still life paintings.
“These ideas, that gardening and the study of botany was started by women and then taken away by men, made my mind explode a little bit. Wasn’t this the most feminine undertaking under the sun? Isn’t having a green thumb all about nurturing and caring for things? ”
“The practice was associated with human sexuality, and thus belonged in the control of men, considered adjacent to witchcraft in the hands of women.”
“I’m exploring the question of the feminine sexual versus the masculine sexual in botany, the evocative, and utilizing violent colors to that end. I plan to take full advantage of my (relatively new) right to study and celebrate plants as an approach to history.”