Microcosms: A Homage to Sacred Plants of the Americas

Secret Life of Plants

By: - Dec 07, 2022

Dear Friends,
I am sending you a link to a website created by my friend, Steven White.  For this website, plants considered sacred by indigenous groups of the Americas were scanned at St. Lawrence University’s Microscopy and Imaging Center.  Steven asked me to write a short commentary about Microcosms.  Below is my statement and photos of two recent paintings that will be included on the site.  I hope you will enjoy the confocal images as well as Steven’s excellent text. 
Rick Harlow
My commentary on Microcosms

I send gratitude and congratulations to Steven White and Jill Pflugheber for creating this beautiful homage to sacred plants of the Americas.  I'm ensorcelled by the poetic beauty of your prose and photographs used in creating this essential website for a greater understanding of sacred plants and the interrelated history of art and science.      

As a painter who has lived and worked with indigenous peoples of the Colombian Amazon and the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta for the past 36 years, I’ve developed a personal connection to the cultural significance and ritual use of some of these plants.  I see these confocal images as intimate portraits of my most beloved teachers.  Sentient beings who have guided my development over decades and helped me to unlock the protean characteristics of paint that (to paraphrase Kandinski), allow the painter to penetrate external form and express with all our senses its internal pulse. 

Rick Harlow, Artist, Director of The Elders Project