J.W. Fike’s Photographic Survey of the Wild Edible Botanicals of Colorado

October 6 – November 11
Sponsored by the Art Center Guild
First Friday reception October 6, 7-9pm 

Wild Edible features work by photographer Jimmy Fike. A forager as well, Fike collects plant specimens, then arranges them in the studio, photographs them, and uses digital illustration to render the edible parts in color. The leaves, petals, buds, and stems in the resulting images float, specter-like, on a black background, referencing both photograms of botanical specimens used in scientific illustrations and visions from the collective unconscious.

While this type of art may appear atavistic, and indeed references historical approaches to understanding and utilizing nature, its redeployment in this contemporary era is vitally relevant to environmental issues. These edible plants grow all around us, in yards, alleys, ditches, and empty lots. Fike strives to create images that function as conduits in a uniquely charged space connecting art, science, and spirituality. His work offers a mystical counterbalance to scientific objectivism and, hopefully, a renewed sense of connection to the natural world.

Fike has photographed over one hundred twenty plants in ten different states and plans to continue until the survey spans the continental United States. The resulting catalog may serve as an archive for an uncertain ecological future, a guide for foraging, and a collection of meditative symbols.

The Los Angeles Times profiled a previous version of the exhibition that featured plants native to California. Columnist Liesl Bradner wrote, “If the title of the exhibit sounds a bit scientific, that was intentional. ‘I’m referencing the history of contact prints and photograms from the dawn of photography,’ says Fike, noting 19th century English botanist Anna Atkins and pioneering photographer Henry Fox Talbot. ‘Some of the very first photographs were plant specimens on sensitized paper.’” *

Jimmy Fike lives in Phoenix and has an MFA in Photography from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. His work has been exhibited in a number of venues spanning the country, featured in the LA Times, and a selection belongs in the permanent collection of the George Eastman House Museum.


*Bradner, Liesl. “Haunting flowers: The eerily beautiful California botanical art of J.W. Fike.” Los Angeles Times, May 19, 2016. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-ca-cm-jw-fike-photography-20160517-snap-htmlstory.html

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