Art Photo of the Day: Jessica Rath Uses Sculpture to Highlight Hybrid and Endangered Apples

© Jessica Rath
Drap d’or gueneme
3” x 3.5” x 3.5” (each), high-fire glazed porcelain

From Richard Shilling's land art sculptures to Brett Van Ort's photos of land mine landscapes, some of my favorite art to feature here on TreeHugger is that which reminds us of the connection between man and the natural world.

Jessica Rath shared an interesting project with me recently. For the clearest description, it's best to read the project description. From Jessica Rath's project, take me to the apple breeder:
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"Intrigued by science journalist Michael Pollan’s description of rare, odd apples from the Noah’s Ark of apples in his book Botany of Desire, Jessica visited the Plant Genetics Resource Unit (PGRU) in Geneva, New York, a joint USDA/Cornell University project. The reason for this vast living collection… unknown to most people, edible apples cannot be planted from seed, they must be grafted from existing trees, thus keeping the variety literally “alive” to save it. At the PGRU, buds are collected from apple trees all over the world, then grafted onto dwarf rootstock and matured until fruiting.

Jessica made nine sculptures based examples of varieties from PGRU. While the size and volume are based on the original, high fire glazes were mixed and matched to allude to various hues of yellows, reds, pinks and greens and represent some of the unusual russets and blushes on the apples. The artist returned to Geneva in March 2011 on a Center for Cultural Innovation grant to photograph genetic diversity at the Cornell University-NYS Agricultural Experiment Station. There apple breeder Dr. Susan K. Brown has planted out thousands of seed “sisters” from each of her cross breeding of two apple trees. Over the course of six to seven years, Brown leaves the trees unpruned, to grow wild."

© Jessica Rath
clone with perseverance
62.5" x 55", archival pigment print on exhibition fiber

To see the rest of her sculptures and tree portraits, visit her site.

Tags: Apples | Art and Design Photo | Artists | Arts