Demons in the Vegetable Garden: a Botanical History of the Mind
Before Darwin and the microscope, reality was a product of our fears, desires, and fantasies. Before modern science, nature adhered to a taxonomy of good and evil. Herbs were keys to immortality, resurrection, conception, and warding off innumerable demons. So much as touching the wrong plant could turn you into a sheep or stop your heart. Good and evil were not always distinct, and then as now it is often the most poisonous plants that save lives. Though we have found little evidence of demons or sheep people, as science advances, the line between life and death seems more and more permeable. Like the witch doctors of our Neolithic ancestors, we continue to look for the plant or chemical that will extend life, bring back the dead, and keep us young forever. This series of paintings brings ancient superstition and modern science together through this history of herbal myth and medicine. The work presents a collective unconscious imagining built up over thousands of years.
Thesis completed in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Alfred University Honors Program.
Honors thesis, Art, Painting, Herbal medicine