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Molly Wood

The Fatal Flora series evolved from my interest in Renaissance women who made their place in society by using their knowledge of the properties of botanicals. That expertise could range from culinary, to medicinal, to deadly. Often the same plants used to nurture and feed loved ones were used in another way to heal the sick. Different parts of those same plants could also be prepared in other ways to be poisonous.

Women who had botanical knowledge were sometimes perceived as a threat to medical and clerical professions and were accused of practicing witchcraft. Botanical knowledge became dangerous knowledge and was the start of a long and complex history of power struggles and gender conflicts.

In these photographs, I use only natural light and style them to resemble Dutch still life paintings. I seek out plants that were present in women's Medieval and Renaissance medicinal gardens or were referred to in historical texts. When possible, I cultivate and grow these plants at home so that I can watch the changes they go through during their life cycles. When specific varieties cannot be found, I substitute varieties that are in the same family. For example, Papaver Somniferum or opium poppies are hard to come by in the United States so I have explored other poppy varieties.

Plants that contain the potential to be toxic are extremely complex in their
structures. Their appearance and their potency changes drastically depending upon the timing of the growth cycles - from bud to bloom to seed pod. These photographs are printed as large-scale images, much larger than life, so that the viewer can closely examine every detail of these complex plants.

I use botanicals as metaphors for my own life experiences. Situations and relationships that can be beautiful, seductive, nurturing, life-sustaining and healthy when experienced in one way can also become toxic and poisonous when circumstances are changed or out of balance. 

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Click a thumbnail below to view the full size image.

CLEMATIS, 6895
Media: Photograph
Dimensions: 30 x 30
Price: $1,000.00

POPPY OPEN, 0088
Media: Photograph
Dimensions: 30 x 30
Price: $1,000.00

VIOLETS, 2979
Media: Photograph
Dimensions: 30 x 30
Price: $1,000.00


STILL LIFE WITH ORANGE, 291
Media: Photograph
Dimensions: 30 x 30
Price: $1,000.00

ROSES STILL LIFE, 063
Media: Photograph
Dimensions: 30 x 30
Price: $1,000.00

DATURA IN VASE, 025
Media: Photograph
Dimensions: 10 x 10
Price: $250.00


ZINNIA ON BOOK, 045
Media: Photograph
Dimensions: 10 x 10
Price: $250.00

QUEEN ANNE'S LACE, 3985
Media: Photograph
Dimensions: 10 x 10
Price: $250.00

POPPY CENTER, 3837
Media: Photograph
Dimensions: 10 x 10
Price: $250.00


LILY OF THE VALLEY, 3434
Media: Photograph
Dimensions: 10 x 10
Price: $250.00

DATURA, 1963
Media: Photograph
Dimensions: 10 x 10
Price: $250.00

DATURA, 001
Media: Photograph
Dimensions: 10 x 10
Price: $250.00


DATURA, 4026
Media: Photograph
Dimensions: 10 x 10
Price: $250.00

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