A centuries-old art form, botanical illustrations have long been used to help doctors and scientists identify species for medical and healing purposes. Had they been solely used for documentation, botanical illustrations would have died out with the advent of the camera. They persist, however, as the unholy union of science and art. Illustrators must carefully walk the tightrope or risk offending those on either side of the truth-versus-beauty debate or, as some might view it, the truth-versus-honesty debate. Dianne Aigaki balances her work beautifully between the two. Her illustrations from the Himalayas are detailed and specific enough to please even the pickiest horticulturalist, and her colors imbue her subjects with life from the tips of their petals to their spindly roots. Aigaki will also participate in a program titled "Botany as Cultural Diplomacy" on Thursday October 11—as if we hadn't already asked enough of botanical illustrators. Artist's reception 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sunday September 30.
Sept. 26-Jan. 6, 2007