The Fort Worth Botanic Garden Is Illuminating Fern Research
The Fort Worth Botanic Garden is pleased to present “Dornith Doherty: Illuminations: Past, Present, and Future of Fern Research,” an art exhibition free and open to the public from Feb. 17 through Jun. 30 at the Madeline R. Samples Exhibit Hall in the BRIT building at 1700 University Dr. Fort Worth, Texas 76107. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday. For more information, please call (817) 332-4441.
A reception and panel discussion launches the exhibition Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT®) at 1700 University Drive, Fort Worth Texas. The panel will feature Dornith Doherty in conversation with BRIT Research Botanist Alejandra Vasco, who also leads the Ferns of Colombia project, and BRIT Herbarium Director Tiana Rehman. The conversation will be moderated by BRIT Librarian Ana Niño. Light refreshments will be provided.
The result of a two-year research-based creative affiliation with Vasco, Niño and Rehman, Doherty presents new large-scale artworks that engage with the past, chronicle the present, and project our possible ecological futures. The exhibition includes Doherty’s large-scale transparencies made from diaphanized plants collected in 1956, artworks made from images of ferns recently discovered in the tropics of Colombia, and a projection of animated genomic data from these plants.
“Among Dornith’s chief concerns are the philosophical, cultural, and ecological questions that are often left invisible when considering human entanglement in our rapidly changing environment,” Vasco says. “This confluence of interests led to her ongoing collaborations with scientists, archives, seed banks, natural history collections, and research institutes focused on the preservation of biodiversity and enhancing environmental resilience since 2008. It has been an incredible illuminating art and science collaboration, and we are thrilled that her artwork will be here for all to see.”
With these new artworks, Doherty brings to light the complex web of global scientific histories and the promising results of current day environmental research. Doherty’s work is concerned with our stewardship of the natural environment, and this new project explores the subject and the importance of present-day efforts in preserving today’s plant diversity for future generations.
Dornith Doherty is a 2012 Guggenheim Foundation Fellow and an American artist working primarily with photography, video, and scientific imaging. She received a BA from Rice University and an M.F.A. in Photography from Yale University. In addition to the Guggenheim Fellowship, she has received grants from the Fulbright Foundation, the Japan Foundation, and the United States Department of the Interior. Artist-in-residencies: Museum of Contemporary Art-Toronto, Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies, and Botanical Research Institute of Texas. Recent exhibitions: Unsettled Natures: Artists Reflect on the Age of Human, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC; Archiving Eden: Exchange, Museum of Contemporary Art-Toronto; Seedscapes: Future-Proofing Nature, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, England; Dornith Doherty: Archiving Eden, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C., and Companion Species, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR. Her work has been shown and collected extensively in the United States and abroad.
Alejandra Vasco is a Research Botanist at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas. She received a Ph.D. in Biology from The City University of New York and The New York Botanical Garden, and a B.S. in Biology from the Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia. Vasco’s research focus is on the diversity and evolution of ferns. She and colleagues were awarded a four-year NSF grant in 2021 (DEB- 2045319) to document and explore the high diversity of ferns in Colombia.
Tiana Rehman is the Herbarium Director at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas where she has worked since 2009. She received an M.S. in Environmental Science from Texas Christian University, and a B.S. in Environmental Science and B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Southern Methodist University. As Herbarium Director Tiana oversees nearly 1.5 million herbarium specimens, microscope slides, microphotographs, and liquid-preserved collections.
Ana Niño is the Librarian at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas. She received a B.S. from Cornell University in Science & Technology studies, and an M.S. in Library and Information Science from the University of North Texas. As the BRIT librarian, she facilitates research and manages library, archival, and art acquisitions.