Allison Green

The Healing Garden

The most resilient and unexpectedly beautiful plants that exist in the urban landscape are plants that we normally consider weeds.  Emerging from cracked pavement, filling vacant lots, cascading over aging fences and sprouting in flowerbeds, “weeds,” if one bothers to take an intimate look, are exquisite specimens of plants that can heal and nourish. The Healing Garden depicts various common weeds and wild flowers in clusters, juxtaposed against deep, colorful backgrounds.  Each painting is like a family portrait, from baby buds to withered flora, embodying the many stages of human life from birth to death. The weeds are depicted larger than life, closer to the scale of humans, to enable the viewer to absorb the emotive gestures and intense interactions between the subjects. In The Healing Garden, the weeds feel like giant characters on a stage, acting out the dynamic relationships that make families so unique.  


"In The Healing Garden, one of two series of recent oil paintings, Green celebrates her charges often overlooked petaled, leafed and tendriled beauty as well as their medicinal and culinary properties. Paintings such as Echinacea, Queen Anne’s Lace (also known as wild carrot), and Dandelions depict the plants clustered in interdependent, intermingled groups that suggest cross-generational family portraits, all the plants at different stages in their cycle.  Vertical in orientation, finely drawn, as much drawing as painting, the composition is centered, extending along the vertical mid-line, the showiest flowers near the top where the faces of the parents might be in a family grouping surrounded by their offspring, the symmetry classic. Green’s palette is vivid, almost preternaturally so, the intensely hued monochromatic ground keyed to the bloom represented and a formal response to the picture’s color scheme—a buttery yellow in Spanish Needles, an opulent plum in Echinacea, and a hot coral in Buckhorn Plantains, say--that emphasizes the fact that these are not simply realistic images from nature. They would not have been mistaken for such in any case, if only by the surreal scale of the subjects, many times over life-sized, the canvases 5 feet in height. " - Lilly Wei, Art Critic and Independent Curator, excerpt from the essay Fanfare for the Common Plant