BAEE Artists Exhibit at the Cosmos Club

From June 22 through October 27, 2015, the Cosmos Club, a prestigious private members club in Washington, D.C., hosted an exhibition of native plants by BAEE artists. Most of these original art works were from the BAEE book, American Botanical Paintings: Native Plants of the Mid Atlantic.

Photo of the room at the Cosmos Club showing tables and chairs and the exhibit display.
Exhibit display at the Cosmos Club.

Photo of six botanical paintings on display.
Display of six botanical paintings at the Cosmos Club exhibit.

Eileen Malone-Brown, a BAEE Board member and one of the artists whose work was included in the exhibition, gave a luncheon talk on September 15, 2015, hosted by the Art and Garden committees of the Cosmos Club. Both the exhibition and luncheon were held in the Crentz Room, a lovely venue for meals and lectures.

Eileen discussed the book project in the context of the importance of using native plants and the history of botanical illustration. Eleven BAEE members attended (along with six of their guests), as well as members and guests of the club. There were about fifty in attendance. BAEE sold nine books at the luncheon.

Twenty-four BAEE artists contributed 42 paintings: Candace Aburdene, Ingrid Arnesen, Clarissa Bonde, Kristie Bruzenak, Esther Carpi, Karen Coleman, Lee Boulay D'Zmura, Bonnie Driggers, Margaret Farr, Lara Call Gastinger, Mary Page Hickey, Juliet Kirby, Marcia Long, Eileen Malone-Brown, Vicki Malone, Pamela Mason, Marsha Odgen, Kandy Phillips, Karen Ringstrand, Berit Robertson, Judy Rodgers, Alice Tangerini, Judith Towers, and Mary Jane Zander.

BAEE also provided the materials for two themed display cabinets: one showing artists' materials and the techniques used by botanical painters, the other showing historical botanical illustrations from artists such as Redouté.

Photo of display case 1
First display case at the Cosmos Club.

Photo of display case 2
Second display case at the Cosmos Club.
Botanical painting of spotted wintergreen
Chimaphila maculata (Spotted Wintergreen, also called striped wintergreen, striped prince’s pine or rheumatism root) © Margaret Farr.

Display of three paintings of butterflies, moths, pupa
Exhibit of butterfly and moth paintings © by Kandy Vermeer Phillips.

Eileen Malone-Brown suggested the idea of a Cosmos exhibition for BAEE paintings to Vickie Malone who was instrumental in arranging this exhibition and talk, through her contacts at Cosmos Club. Wendy Cortesi/Makins, who apart from being a botanical painter, heads the Cosmos Club Art Committee, agreed to sponsor the exhibition. Her committee members Joan Mulcahy and Jackie Bailey Labovitz were very helpful in making preliminary arrangements and in giving valuable guidance during the hanging of the exhibition. Alexandra Parker from the Cosmos Club provided all the labels for the exhibit and the display cases, and assisted in taking down the exhibition.

From the BAEE side, Karen Ringstrand and Mary Page Hickey took responsibility for soliciting the paintings, arranging for the hanging and taking down, providing information for the wall text and general coordination of the project.

Mary Page Hickey and Vicki Malone provided the materials and text for the "painting techniques" display case. Karen Ringstrand was responsible for the "historical art" display case. Vicki and Lee D'Zmura helped Karen and Mary Page with the hanging. Berit Robertson arranged tickets for BAEE members and guests who attended the luncheon. Judy Rodgers and Pamela Mason helped collect paintings for delivery to the Cosmos Club.

Photo of Eileen Malone-Brown with her paintings.
Eileen Malone-Brown at the BAEE USBG reception.
Photo credit: John Driggers.

Eileen's talk was received enthusiastically. The Cosmos Club members who helped with the exhibition said that they had received many positive comments about the exhibition.

The head of the McLean Project for the Arts (Virginia) who attended the talk, expressed interest in hosting a future talk. Jackie Bailey Labovitz of the Cosmos Club is interested in selling the work of our artists, as well as the book, in her new gallery in Virginia.

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Karen began painting when she enrolled in an adult education course titled Oil Painting for Beginners in the 1990s in London, UK. Later she enrolled in an art class taught by Anne-Marie Evans and earned her diploma at the Chelsea Physic Garden. After moving to the Washington, D.C. area in 2008, Karen continues to paint and take classes. She is active in BAEE and has served as a Board member and Treasurer.