Facing Main Street, Leigh Anne Lester’s Cultivated Divergence features large-scale botanical propagations in hand-cut drafting film and vinyl. Lit from the inside, white silhouettes of creeping plant forms weave around the front and back of four suspended, blue Plexiglas sheets and cast a delicate layering of shadows on the floor. Where there is a break of the lineage on the blue, vinyl foliage grows in the Window Works gallery windows. Some portions escape the glass and proliferate around the Artpace building.
Lester is fascinated with the next generations of her mutant plant drawings. For Cultivated Divergence, she took portions of her previous work, like samplings, to harvest new forms. Her installation makes an obvious reference to plants but is a deliberate visual muddling. Each layer of vinyl vegetation and its resulting shadows optically mix and create new forms, indicating flora but becoming “freaky, weird, and stretched-out,” according to the artist. She questions what is unnatural about the genetic modification of plants and human interference with plant DNA, stating: “Genetics in plants allow us to divert evolution to our own ends. How will that play out? How could I visually interpret that?” * With seductive floral patterning and luminescent vinyl, Cultivated Divergence entices meditation on how society alters the environment.
*(Interview with Wend Atwell, 2011, retrieved 12/12/12: www.fluentcollab.org.mbg/index.php/interview/index/170/100)