Consuelo Kanaga, The Camelia, 1927 (7.1982)
This simple flower still life is of the camelia, which was designated as Alabama’s state
flower in 1959. Consuelo Kanaga shows the white bloom having been cut with a single leaf and placed in a glass of water, as if to decorate a tablescape. Considering her portraits
of Alabama resident Annie Mae Merriweather, Kanaga may have spent considerable time
in the state and/or within the southeastern United States where this originally-Asian flower is cultivated. Not a typical still life, Kanaga approaches the flower in a similar way as she does her portraits: providing a close up, showing the flower’s form with fairly even lighting. Showing its loose petals unfurling and the thick, glossy leaf with deep veins, it’s almost as if Kanaga wants the viewer to know the flower intimately.
–Qiana Mestrich ICP-Bard 2013