As the year winds down and days get colder and shorter, there is a breath of springtime at the Kaplan Gallery at VisArts in Rockville.
At first, “Pink – A Cherry Blossom Fantasy” seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but a few minutes at the installation by Rockville artist Liliane Blom proves otherwise.
It is just what a cold weather-weary soul needs.
“Pink … is an interactive installation that aims to bring light into winter, the outdoors indoor and joy through the unexpected encounter with a riot of pink cherry blossoms,” Blom wrote in her description of the show.
Taking up both rooms of the second-floor gallery at VisArts, Blom’s installation is made up of several large paintings, photographs actually, that Blom took and had printed on canvas and then painted over with oils.
“I love big,” Blom said of her canvasses. “I’d like to do only big, but they are hard to transport and store.”
Each canvas includes a signature blossom, a replica of those on the cherry blossom necklace Blom’s daughter made for her. Each also has feet or shoes in it, an homage, she said to reality, groundedness, in the fantasy she created.
“This is my way to freeze time, to hold on to the ephemeral, to share with you my pink fantasy that comes around just once a year for a few brief days or weeks if we are lucky,” she wrote.
Included in the installation is a video projection of cherry blossoms as they move from buds to flowers, and then, as spent flowers, fall to the ground creating a carpet of pink. There are silk “waves,” four 25-foot hand painted “rivers” of silk fluttering in streams along the floor, and a pink “cocoon room” where tissue paper cherry blossoms blow about, with the help of several small fans.
“The whole installation is based on the beautiful trees,” Blom said.
In her statement she explained, “I was astounded the first spring I lived in Rockville to discover that the trees lining the street had the most amazing big, fluffy, dreamy blossoms. I am still amazed 25 years later. Still besotted.”
Blom is originally from Norway–a slight accent gives her away–but moved to the U.S. with her family when her father took a job in Washington, D.C. She attended Montgomery College where she started learning photography. That was her first love. Painting came later, when she was at George Washington University, where she earned a degree in oil painting. “I love both photography and oil painting, and digital art is a way to combine both,’ she said.
Blom said she wants people to interact with the exhibit, playing with the fluttering petals and enjoying their own cherry blossom fantasy.
“Its very child friendly,” she said. “I like children to come and play [with the confetti cherry blossoms]. We even have small handheld fans for them to use.”
She wrapped up her artist statement with an invitation.
“I invite you to meditate and find light and peace in the contemplation of the silk rivers; to dance in the petals, throw them in the air and become part of the fantasy. Life is brief just like a flower blooming, remember to enjoy it.”
“Pink – A Cherry Blossom Fantasy” by Rockville artist Liliane Blom will run through Jan. 14 at VisArts’ Kaplan Gallery, 155 Gibbs St., Rockville. Gallery hours are Wednesday and Thursday, noon to 4 p.m.; Friday, noon to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. The gallery is closed Monday and Tuesday. For more information, call 301-315-8200 or visit www.visartscenter.org. View this event on CultureSpotMC here.
Video from Opening Night