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Our Lady of the Flowers is a special presentation pairing two visionary iconoclasts of the twentieth century, Diane Arbus and Carol Rama. Spanning the gallery’s entire ground-floor space in the historic St. George’s Building, a selection of Arbus’s photographs of two of New York City’s iconic theaters of public interaction–Central Park and Washington Square—will hang alongside Rama’s assemblage paintings, which transform their supports into semi-abstract landscapes of aggression and desire. Our Lady of the Flowers will constitute the first in-depth public presentation of Arbus’s and Rama’s work in Greater China.
Both Arbus and Rama created art marked by its psychological pull and unexpected imagery. Arbus has often been described as an "urban anthropologist,” using her camera as both an observational tool and a means of capturing intangible emotions, states, and themes. She once compared her photographic approach to collecting butterflies, and while she often sought out certain individuals—usually those on the margins—she remained open to chance encounters. Rama was likewise a connoisseur of curiosities who embraced the creative possibilities of accident while structuring her compositions with lucid arrangements of color, texture, and shape. Her most well-known body of work, the Bricolage series, conceives the painterly support as a site of bodily compromise, wherein castoff objects—among them, worn rubber tubes, metal shavings, and taxidermy eyes—join gestural emanations of paint. While insistently abstract, her works hint at representation, suggesting traumatized bodies and compromised psyches.