New Moon Solstice Flower
30 x 14”
Solar Etching on Kitakata
New Moon Solstice Flower is an experimental essay, drawing series, and artist book born in the depths of quarantine. Its subject is a hibiscus shrub in the tiny garden adjacent to my urban home, where I was isolated in 2020. Over the course of six all-day performances beginning on the summer solstice, I drew the hibiscus from dawn until dusk every full and new moon, which, serendipitously, also aligned with federal holidays. The drawings capture the first unfurling, expansive opening, and swift decay of the flowers within a single day. Alongside them, I produced a sprawling text, both diaristic and philosophical, questioning the interlocking and discordant calendars of sun, moon, and settler-state-sanctioned times of rest and recreation. Ultimately, the performances ended on the winter solstice, after my return to in-person work impeded my ability to observe a time governed by natural cycles. But the writing continued. In it, I struggle openly with the questions: at what point does familiarity constitute knowledge, knowledge intimacy, and duration commitment? What are the conditions of engagement required to sustain these relationships, and when do they cease to be true?
I read from an excerpt of the project, following a conversation between artist Keltie Ferris and Brooklyn Rail Editor-at-Large Tom McGlynn, on the Brooklyn Rail's New Social Environment #293, which you can watch here.
Performance, performance score, drawings, etchings, text: Serena Caffrey