"I Am Not a Flower":
Margaret Preston, Félix Régamey, and Metempsychotic Ikebana in the Interwar Period


Saturday, November 21, 2:00–4:00 p.m.
Sullivan Galleries, 33 S. State St., 7th floor

An afternoon with ESTAR(SER)

D. Graham Burnett and Caitlin Sweeney ESTAR(SER) Editorial Committee
Presented by Eric Ellingsen and the Radical Imagination Community, Chicago

Across a career that reshaped Australian art, the celebrated and controversial Modernist Margaret Preston brought an uncanny intensity to the depiction of flowers—in both oil and woodblock print. Of her iconic self-portrait, now hanging in the Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, she remarked acidly: "I am a flower painter—I am not a flower." But was the distinction so simple? Perhaps not. New evidences suggest Preston may well have been familiar with exercises of metempsychotic self-exchange with flowering plants, techniques used by esoteric practitioners of the Japanese art of Ikebana or Kado, the ancient art of flower-arranging. Was Preston possibly initiated into occult techniques of flower gazing by associates of the Order of the Third Bird?

On November 21, participants will have the opportunity to hear a preliminary report on this fascinating nexus of conjured problems, and will be invited to experiment firsthand with the research process by means of a series of reconstructed attentional exercises staged in the gallery. For more information estarser.net