The trees may be bare and the flowers aren't in bloom, but that doesn't mean Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a waste in the winter. Inside the Garden's Steinhardt Conservatory, already lush with greenery, a new terrarium exhibit brings new life with dozens of intricate miniature plant worlds. Created by Jennifer Williams, the Garden's curator of interior displays, the delicate terrariums are currently on display alongside artworks by the Brooklyn-based artist Jae Hi Ahn. Ahn uses simple artificial materials like plastic tubes and wires to build flowing installations that evoke organic forms and plants, which pay tribute to the natural world encapsulated in the terrariums. The exhibit ends this Sunday, February 26, so don't miss it!
Located in the lower level of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Conservatory, the terrariums are spread throughout the space on tables. Despite being meticulously lined up, the displays have a playfulness, thanks to the various vessels used for the terrariums. Each miniature world is unique, whether through its shape or inhabitants. A large aquarium is home to lush, low-lying plants and a few flowers, while a covered jar houses a moist, mossy environment, perfect for a frog. Others are beach-like, with cacti standing on a landscape of sand and shells. Jennifer Williams’ choice of interesting containers — a wine decanter, tall cylindrical vases, and a small spherical jar, just to name a few — bring variety to the exhibit and make each terrarium a lovely work of art.
Four of Ahn’s sculptures hang from the skylights in the space. A dainty display of bright pink orbs and feathery strings sparkles as it reflects the light, and a collection of small, faux plant-filled vessels are bunched together like a ball of terrariums, with tubes weaving away like plants reaching for the sun. “My work often involves repurposing common industrial products to style organic forms,” says Ahn on her website. “Based on repetitive, self-similar processes that occur in living environments, my sculptures are a tribute to nature’s many wonders.”
“Terrarium” is on display in the Steinhardt Conservatory at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden through Sunday, February 26. The garden is open until 4:30 p.m. every day of the week, and during the winter (through March 11), weekday admission is free!
images © Jessica Dailey for Inhabitat