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The Surreal Photography of Lisa DiLillo

Fictional Botanicals

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parting_triumphator_dilillo.jpg

“Reality is overrated,” says Lisa DiLillo, a visual artist based in Sparrow Bush. Her latest photography series, Eden Ramblers, is a collection of fictional botanicals that combine elements from divergent plants and animals into surreal new species. “I am exploring ideas of potentiality,” DiLillo says, “plant evolutions that could possibly occur in the near-distant future due to changing environmental circumstances or human experimentation.” DiLillo says.

DiLillo, a self-described obsessive gardener, was inspired by 17th-century Dutch still lifes with their black backgrounds and dramatic chiaroscuro lighting. “Painters were showcasing [a particular] specimen from the New World by isolating it,” DiLillo says. “I wanted to showcase specimens from my new world.”

Triumphator is a composition created with deer antlers and bachelor button flowers. DiLillo spends hours arranging, photographing, and digitally collaging these images into believability. “It’s a challenge, because I’m taking elements of all different sizes. I can’t just create a static still life because the scales are so different—huge antlers, small flowers,” she says. “So much of the art is getting the lighting and the shading right and altering the proportions so that it looks like one element is behind another or coming out of it.”

DiLillo’s images tug at the back of the mind. They seem familiar—and yet totally not. The obvious components of the composition are recognizable, and the brain grapples to reconcile them with this new context. The works are at once an invitation to leave the restrictions of reality behind and a cautionary tale about what our meddling might get us. Portfolio: Lisadilillo.com.

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