The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (CAM) presents Botanica absentia, an installation by St. Louis artist Margaret Keller. Botanica absentia creates a fictive memorial and archive dedicated to lost trees. Set in an imaginary future, after climate change has forced most living organisms toward either mutation or extinction, the installation serves as a commemoration to extinct tree species. The artist combines laser cut dichroic Plexiglas, wood, aluminum, and chrome to create a replica limb from the 'now-extinct' Cercis canadensis, or redbud tree. Multi-hued refractions transform the somber black walls of the space into a dystopian tribute to nature devastated by climate change. This installation emerges out of Keller's belief that at this precise moment, we are at the tipping point of a world gone wrong.
The exhibition, curated by the Teen Museum Studies program, is open to the public in CAM's Education Gallery September 6 through December 29, 2019. Artist's talk 7:15pm, September 6.
Utilizing diverse media such as sculpture, installation, technology, and mixed media to address the survival of interdependent species as they adapt to the future, Margaret Keller investigates the relationship between nature, contemporary culture, and technology, along with their effects on our lives. Recent exhibitions include The Arkansas Art Center Museum, Little Rock (2017); Gallery 210, University of Missouri-St. Louis (2017); The William and Florence Schmidt Art Center Museum, Belleville, IL (2019); and The Public Works commission for Riverbend, a 133-foot long aluminum public art project at The Gateway Arch National Park (2018). Keller received the 2019 Regional Arts Commission Fellowship Award for Artistic Excellence.