Botanical Roadkill Mandalas and Floating Trash

April 16, 2013 | Julia Dawidowicz

The sinister relationship between nature and artificiality pervades Portia Munson‘s “Reflecting Pool,” her fourth exhibition at the PPOW Gallery. Initially inspired by the innate utopian beauty of flower structures, the Massachusetts-born artist scanned intricately arranged flower petals and scavenged dead animals to create a series of mandala-like images.

Alongside her prints of petal-adorned wildlife shrines is the “reflecting pool” itself, an above-ground pool with thousands of manmade plastic objects floating at it’s surface. All in shades of blue, the objects are bits of trash Munson collected from streams and landfills. The installation is “a reminder of how rapidly plastic objects are produced, consumed and discarded to then spend the majority of their synthetic existence as waste, leaving nature to wage the long-fought battle of decomposition in landfills and ocean gyres.” “Reflecting Pool,” Portia Munson, April 4- May 4, PPOW Gallery, Chelsea