Marcy Juran, Humble Beauty – Portfolio Competition Winner

September 20 – October 15, 2023

Why fruit and why vegetables?

I could say that my inspiration is the rich tradition of still life painting, studied in college art history classes. But the truth is, I have had a lifelong fascination with the botanical kingdom, beginning with hours spent in my parents’ gardens, where it all began.

Unlike the others in the neighborhood who favored gladiolas and tulips, my mother plowed up part of our backyard for an asparagus bed. And at the age of 6, my father dug me a small garden of my own, and I proudly planted my first tomatoes. I continue to garden, and this year, the resident woodchuck has yet to breech the new fence.

Early on, I became aware of the unique visual qualities of these fruits of the earth as I picked and planted. And now, creating my images, I look closely, emphasizing their colors and forms; the intricacy of the spears of asparagus, green with touches of color brushing their tips. The delicacy of cornsilk, twining around kernels of cream to yellow, revealed as the leaves are peeled from the ears. And the dusky skin of the blueberry, kissed by a blush of purple, and topped by a delicate crown.

With these hand-colored photographs, my subjects are ripe with memories – the pears on the tree near our backyard playhouse, blueberries collected at summer camp by the lake, the peas freshly picked in early spring. They are not footnotes on a still life tableaux, but a tangible link to my gardening family.