In the artwork of San Francisco-based artist Yedda Morrison, distinctions between natural and artificial, botany and imperialism, art and decoration, inside and outside and reality and fantasy are pleasingly troubled. In one project, "Specimen Drape," real flowers of made-up species (Flora Facticius, fake or fetish flowers; Flora Exotica, rare orchids, ferns and tropicals; Flora Familia, English garden blooms; Genus Colonia, exclusively white flowers) insinuate themselves parasitically, and beautifully, into existing architectural elements.
In another series, "Bioposy," Morrison uses the tackiest artificial flowers she can find to create "mutant strains, improbably and permanent hybrids." She asks, "If a real plant is a statement from another time, are we already `after' nature?"
Morrison explores "the long and complicated relationship between the decorative arts, imperialism, and the so-called natural world" in a project called Extinction Parlor. Working with a list of 264 common flowering plants of New York compiled by the University of the State of New York in 1921, Morrison creates beautiful, fully functional, and purchasable wallpapers.
In 2008, Morrison points out in her artist's statement, 27 of these flowers are considered endangered. Extinction Parlor "imagines a future without access to `real' flora, where leaf has been reduced to motif, plant to pattern, and nature itself to interior decor," what the artist calls "stilled life."
As the excertps above indicate, Morrison is also a talented writer. She has published three books of poems, including one, Darkness, in which the text consists of the first chapter of Joseph Conrad's 1899 novel Heart of Darkness--with all the words whited out except those referring to the natural world. Whether in image or text, Yedda Morrison beautifully and provocatively examines the fraught relations between empire, labor, and nature.