Flowers are the masters of emotional juxtaposition — simultaneously they express and elicit depression and euphoria, beauty and tragedy, fragility and nobility. They are poems themselves, the trajectory of their delicate appearance serving as the perfect metaphor for all that is temporary. It’s this tension that drew Othelo Gervacio to the subjects of his second solo show, All Apologies.
Comprised of five paintings and four sculpture/collage pieces, All Apologies explores the parallels between a flower’s quickly deteriorating beauty and the nature of intimate human relationships. The composition of each piece — the body language of the flowers and the typography (or lack thereof) paired with each — is used to convey certain emotions within a relationship’s lifecycle, from breakup to makeup to “you up?” and every neurotic step between. The title of each piece adds to the narrative, oftentimes using humor to juxtapose the otherwise serious nature of the visual.
The show is a continuation of his Un Blossom series originally inspired by Irving Penn’s Flowers, now also drawing from Cy Twombly’s Scattered Blossom series and Nick Knight’s Melting Floral Photomanipulations. In order to capture each flower’s most expressive moment, Gervacio sourced the flowers himself and methodically photographed their entire life span, intentionally shortening or lengthening that of some.
The emotion conveyed in each piece is complicated, and never obvious. Like watching a stranger cry into her cellphone, devastation may be confused for elation, or vice versa. The viewer’s interpretation may say more about him or herself than it does about the subject, and that’s the point.