Allyson Levy ,

Whereas art and life are mere imitations of each other, I can echo that sentiment loudly from my own forest.
After relocating to rural upstate New York 17 years ago my life has become completely informed and inspired by my interaction with the plant kingdom. So much so that I became a commercial landscaper, grow a large amount of my own food, and started a botanical garden with my husband.

Hortus Conclusus as it is called, has become a level II Arboretum, specializing in rare fruit plants from around the world. Our goal for our gardens is to be a “Living Textbook”. (Hortus.biz)

My art has also followed my life interests using plants as a wellspring for inspiration. My current body of work deals with the properties of found organic materials at various times of the year. It also deals with the processes those materials undergo through nature’s transitions; decomposition, sunlight, wind, insects, etc

By combining natural materials with wax I am trying to capture human-animal interaction with nature. The treatment of these organic materials along with various techniques of encaustic painting will convey the feeling of particular moments of time and how they effect human emotions. From sprout to decay, you the viewer are visually confronted with the profoundly beautiful, devastating and inevitable life cycle. My paintings are my attempt to portray, justify, and perhaps find beauty and solace in these brief moments.

Ex-situ series

I became fascinated with the idea of making my own ex-situ seed library and began purposely incorporating seeds of plants that I loved into my work, knowing that if these trees somehow became extinct I would be able to repopulate with them. This is based off the 15th century idea of storing seeds in wax for storage on shipping vessels (in the pursuit of new worlds to be discovered). A few years ago I read about Russian scientists who were able to clone plant material (Silene) that had been found in a fossilized squirrel’s nest. This plant material was from 30,000 years ago. This was one of the first times that plant material other than seeds was able to be cloned. Scientists were able to grow a plant from the grown cells, raise the plant to seed, and grow that seed to a second generation of Silene. This was groundbreaking news in the plant world. I began including in my work other parts of the plant, along with pollinator and soil. I can imagine taking apart my paintings with their embeded seeds and plant material. Just think what scientists years from now could do with my work.