30,000 Pressings, 2019, wood, acrylic paint, steel, copper, aluminum mesh screen, paper clay, 5 x 7 x 5 ft. Super Dutchess, New York, NY (May - June 2019).
30,000 Pressings is an oversized 5 ft version of a plant press, an apparatus designed for the extraction, collection, and classification of plant specimens. An efficient machine of enlightenment-era science, a similar version was taken on James Cook’s first voyage to the Pacific, producing 30,000 plant pressings between 1768-1771. This sculpture is a magnified version of one on display in a vitrine at the Botanical Museum in the Jardin des Plantes, Paris. For the Super Dutchess vitrine space it has an exotic botanical pattern covered with painted stains, enclosed blotting papers, and has been surrounded with brittle bone-white leaves. The oversized form alludes to entrapment, violence, and surveillance, but also conveys a sense of awe, wonder, and curiosity.