Featuring 40 original botanical illustrations, Abundant Future highlights the history and importance of biological diversity in cultivated plants grown for clothing, shelter, healing, and most of all, for food. The subjects of these works were discovered on international travels, picked up at the farmer’s market and even plucked from artists’ own gardens. The works illustrate the artistry of plant breeding, the challenges of maintaining genetic diversity in domesticated crops, and the potential for rejuvenation to be found in heirloom and ancient plant revival.
The jury team of Susan T. Fisher, Annie Novak, and Denise Walser-Kolar selected works from artists in the US, Canada, Czech Republic, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, and the UK. Subjects featured range from heirloom and ancient food plants such as squash, emmer wheat, potatoes, and rice, to crop wild relatives such as wild figs, wild millet, and fox grapes, to utilitarian heirlooms such as raffia and a precursor to modern cotton. Artists selected include: Seongweon Ahn, Margaret Best, Monika deVries Gohlke, Deborah Dion, Beverly Duncan, Jean Emmons, Akiko Enokido, Lara Gastinger, Damodar Gurjar, Jane Hancock, Albina P. Herron, Asuka Hishiki, Sarah Howard, Mariko Ikeda, Jee-Yeon Koo, Pavlina Kourkova, Anne Mantini, Tammy McEntee, Joan McGann, Linda Medved Lufkin, Susan Mintun, Eunike Nugroho, Barbara Oozeerally, Sally Petru, Sengmany Phommachakr, Linda Powers, Kelly Radding, Lynne Railsback, Gillian Rice, Betsy Rogers-Knox, Lizzie Sanders, Connie Scanlon, Kathy Schermer-Gramm, Mitsuko Schultz, Liz Shippam, Susan Tomlinson, Janene Walkky, and Carol Woodin.
Myra Sourkes, Beth Plotnick, and Claudia Lane have compiled “Artists’ Stories Behind the Art” for ASBA’s website.
A catalog has been published with major support from M. Danny Swanson, Keiko Nibu Tarver and Alan Tarver, and Catherine M. Watters. The exhibition has traveled to Tucson Botanical Garden in Winter/Spring 2022, to Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Summer of 2022, and to Denver Botanic Gardens in Autumn of 2022. It is on view at Oak Spring Garden Foundation from March 3 - October 30, 2023.