In The Sunroom: A Printed Truth

On display from June 30 to August 7, 2024 in The Sunroom at Central Library, A Printed Truth. 

About the exhibit 

Beginning in the High Renaissance Germany, botanical drawing was established as a powerful and influential presence in printed books. Printed botanical illustrations such as those by Hanz Weiditz in Herbarum Vivae Eicones (Living Portraits of Plants, 1530) or Albrecht Meyer’s illustrations in De Historia Stirpium Commentarii Insignes (Notable Commentaries on the History of Plants, 1542) depicted true likenesses of plants, complete with their natural imperfections or sometimes perfect concepts rather than individual portraits. These illustrations were considered scientifically accurate and used for further research.   

The collection of etching presented in A Printed Truth draws inspiration from this 500-year-old practice of sharing knowledge about local flora through the printed image. Learning and sharing not only the structure of a plant, these images also try to impart the understanding that these plants do not ever exist in isolation, but rather are part of a complex ecosystem—they coexist within habitats, together. They attempt to convey an understanding that knowledge itself is always shifting and evolving and that books or records of what we know now, can be layered and folded over time. For example, the way a plant may have been named and classified at one time, can shift and change as we know more about their chemical makeup. Or that a plant’s name may have come from a misunderstanding of where it came from, as in the case of the common milkweed, whose latin name is Asclepias syriaca. “Syriaca” because Carl Linneaus thought it came from Syria when in fact it is native to North America.  

It is said that a good drawing may present facts more directly than text because they are instantly read. The etchings presented in A Printed Truth may also open us up to more questions about the relationships they have with each other, with other species, with us and how much more we have to learn from them. 

About the artist 

Carrie Phillips Kieser is primarily a print media artist living and working in Mi’kma’ki / Nova Scotia, Canada. She holds an MFA from NSCAD University, (NS), a BA in Art History and Fine Arts with distinction from Mount Allison University (NB), and has studied Art History at UCLA, (CA) USA.  She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally. Most recently winning Nocturne's Rising Artist award, and a State Foundation on Culture and the Arts Recognition Award as part of the Pacific States Biennial North America Print Exhibition at the University of Hawaii, Hilo. This summer she will be participating in the 2024 Okanagan Print Triennial in Kelowna B.C. Between the years of 2014 and 2018 she was the Executive Director of Alberta Printmakers (A/P), a non-profit & artist-run centre in Moh-kins-tsis / Calgary, Alberta. She is currently serving on the board of directors with the Executive Committee for Visual Arts Nova Scotia and is an ICA Faculty at NSCAD University.   

The Sunroom is made possible by the generosity of Margot and Layne Spafford.