jolie laide

January 25, 2021

What I appreciate about Sarah Graham‘s flower paintings, is that they aren’t pretty. We have enough of those in the world. I read this morning that the word ugly comes from an old Norse word ugga which means “aggressive.” Graham’s work demands attention. Her nineteenth-century London studio is filled with vintage botanical drawings, exotic plants, fossils and animal skulls. Nature is a life long passion, and the entomology archives at the Natural History Museum are her playground. Her giant butterflies and blooms capture the beautiful ugliness that is nature. The magnification of every stamen and antenna accentuates the grotesque, the bizarre, the outlandishness of flora and fauna. “It would upset me greatly if someone said my work was pretty,” said Sarah Graham.  

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