For her photographs, Sharon Core has baked pies in the style of Wayne Thiebaud paintings and grown heirloom vegetables for still lifes that mimic images from the span of art history. For “Understory,” her new show at Yancey Richardson Gallery in New York City, opening March 24 and running until May 7, Core continues her do-it-yourself approach to making from scratch the scenes she photographs. Her latest series explores “the theater of growth, decay and predation in a cultivated closed landscape environment,” the gallery writes, picturing the natural world in a geodesic dome constructed by the artist on her property in the Hudson Valley.
Her images reference 17th century Dutch artist Otto Marseus van Schriek, known for his Sottobosco paintings (Italian for “underbrush”)—dark, gloomy images filled with the slightly creepy flora and fauna of the forest floor. While still lifes depicting exotic flowers and fruits were widely popular at the time, van Schriek’s paintings pushed the edges of the genre—they were filled with mushrooms and lizards rather than melons and tulips. Like van Schriek, Core has created her own dark world. Writes the gallery, “Teeming with shrubs, vines, weeds, exotic and native cultivars along with decomposing wood, mosses, insects, snails and creatures collected from Coreʼs adjoining forest, the dome provides a platform on which Core acts as curator, constructing a landscape simultaneously natural and artificial.”