Maurice Harris blossoms at Rockefeller Center in New York
This week, the genius of California-born floral artist Maurice Harris blossomed on the East Coast. A new installation at Rockefeller Center in New York, continuing its partnership with Art Production Fund, has just opened, featuring works from “Shades of Blackness Vol. 2 #untouched #nofilter #naturalopulence ”and“ Shades of Blackness Vol. 3 Hands Off My Hair ”, a series of photographic portraits paired with her whimsical flower arrangements. Presented as vinyl murals, the portraits represent a new medium for the artist, proving that his creativity is constantly expanding.
Located throughout the Rockefeller Center campus, the mixed media floral installations and bold portraits are studded with intricate detail. It’s a work that exudes natural beauty, both remarkable and harmonious, embodying “a fairytale quality, cropped in the dark experience,” says Harris.
The portraits represent his family and members of his community, including his niece (and muse) Elyse and his brother Moïse. The latter co-founded Harris’s café, Bloom & Plume Coffee, in Los Angeles. My brother, Moses, in bloom, exhibits a shirtless Moses in front of a golden background and framed by a vibrant arrangement of varieties of deep magenta, blush and tangerine. Each flower placed with intention, the arrangement delicately draws the body of Moses, gently bathed in light. Artworks depicting Elyse were placed in otherworldly display cases decorated with augmented flowers complemented by actual floral arrangements, creating captivating depth. “Capturing her like this literally puts her on a pedestal where she can be celebrated and places her in a different world,” the artist explains, “a world where the violence so frequently inflicted on the WOC does not exist.”
Harris describes these series as “investigations into how we, as people of color, find our beauty and our agency. Born from my deep desire to learn to love myself for who I am (which is not easy when you are a great black homosexual who does not integrate into society in a conventional way), I made a travel to find myself in others. “
Her spectacular flower arrangements were recognized in Los Angeles with the opening of her Bloom & Plume boutique in Echo Park, and have since gained a decorated clientele like Béyonce, Gucci and LACMA. The Rockefeller Center installation features floral frame elements allowing viewers to further immerse themselves in the creation of Harris’ world, escape the noise of Midtown, and step into his vibrant visions.
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