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Patterns in Nature: Perspectives of a Botanical Photographer

Founders’ Room
May 29, 2020
03:00 PM to 04:00 PM
Fully Booked
POSTPONED | Amy Lamb shares the beauty of the life of plants viewed through her camera, bringing us closer to the magnificence of nature.

Out of an abundance of caution in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Dumbarton Oaks will cancel all public events through the end of May.

The shapes, colors, and surface patterns of flowers have evolved to attract pollinators and to ward off predators; both attributes serve to ensure the ability of plants to reproduce and survive in their habitats. With senses and intellect that can discern and appreciate this beauty, we can witness and delight in the processes of botanical life cycles. As a photographer, Amy Lamb visually explores the life of plants viewed through her camera and transposed into photographic prints that reveal the diverse structures, intricate patterns, and vibrant hues of the plants that she grows in my garden. Lamb seeks to share this beauty with others, bringing us closer to the magnificence of nature.

Amy Lamb’s professional career spans half a century of science and art. As an undergraduate and graduate student at the University of Michigan, Lamb focused on biology and art history. Her doctoral and postdoctoral research in cellular biology at the University of Michigan, the Basel Institute of Immunology, and the National Institutes of Health resulted in the collaborative development of groundbreaking procedures to understand the process of mammalian protein synthesis. Lamb transitioned to art to explore and convey visually the beauty and diversity of plant forms. She perfected her skill in studio photography at Montgomery College, the Corcoran School of Art, and the Smithsonian Institution. Lamb approaches photography with a scientist’s precision and an artist’s eye for color and form. Her primary interest is to portray the inherent beauty of plant structure. On a quest to deeply understand her subjects, she is an avid gardener; her indoor and outdoor gardens are her laboratory. Lamb’s work is found in private collections and public institutions such as the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Dallas Arboretum.


Margaret Mee: Portraits of Plants

Margaret Mee: Portraits of Plants presents 20 stunning paintings of Amazonian flora by the artist, explorer, and environmentalist Margaret Mee (1909–1988) in the Dumbarton Oaks rare book collection. The exhibition draws on manuscript and print works from the rare book collection to situate Mee within a tradition of women botanical artists and illustrators that stretches back to the seventeenth century. Portraits of Plants also interrogates the enduring interplay between art and science through a variety of media (botanical illustration, watercolor, photography) extending to the present day, with works by contemporary photographer Amy Lamb, scientific illustrator Alice Tangerini, and botanical artist Nirupa Rao.

Amy Lamb, Orchid Study I, S.I. Bulbophyllum, 2004