Jennifer Trask's "Intrinsecus" in the exhibit "The Flora and The Fauna." Photo Credit: Ed Watkins.

As is often the case with human beings, we cannot help but fingerprint all that we touch. In the MAD Museum‘s exhibition of Flora and Fauna, the unique imprint of humanity is almost tangible, even amid the foliage. A sea of surreal sculptures and sketches, the array of artwork contains the esoteric air of natural beauty compiled with a distinctly human element. From a twisted vine entwined necklace resembling a crown of thorns to the butterfly guided wings of a plane, each piece evokes a sentiment of pseudo-serenity. However upon closer examination, the gallery at it’s basest level is marred by the cherubs and chains of human creation.

Furthermore, the exhibit seems to pit the burgeoning ‘flora and fauna’ against the seeds of industrialization. For example, in Jennifer Trask‘s piece, Intrinsecus, a gilded, superfluous picture frame is itself framed and overshadowed by a falsely blooming bouquet of flowers and bone– flora and fauna, life and death. Another piece seems similarly sentimental, commenting on humans once again through figures of a variety of animals. This piece, depicting a screaming goat rising up from a coil of serpents, calls to mind the agony and exhaust of various Greeks myths and the human condition– the hydra, fighting fate, the search for meaning above it all. Despite all the frills and fauvism of the exhibit, human nature gleams through, not necessarily victorious or defeated, but merely and distinctly present.

Solipsistic as it may be, an exhibit is rarely ever truly moving without the vital link of connection to the viewer, of dialogue between the silent observer and mute piece of work. Flora and Fauna, despite the root meaning of each word, despite the flowers, the fabrics, the fantasies and the fallacies, manages to embody a certain element special to mankind, adding meaning to the mélange of works as well as the lofty ambiguity of nature.