Officina Magica is a collection of three independent series, each covering different aspects of the role of botanicals in our present society. By combining art and science, these series question contemporary concepts about botanicals’ use and perception, while juxtaposing old and new narratives to explore how culture, history, and ethnomedical research intersect and morph into a complex reality. Through photographs and written narratives, each series tells the story of 21 plants, following their trajectories from around the globe to today's America. In this body of work, herbarium specimen preparation, botanical drawing, alternative printing, and digital art techniques come together to emulate old photographic processes, and each piece is infused with an aged yet contemporary undertone. Officina Magica will be available in art venues, online, and in a book format. A small edition of photographs and photograms also will be available for acquisition.
The first installment, Officina Magica: Herbae Culinariae takes advantage of how the foodie culture momentum is changing our perception about herbs. Professional chefs and ordinary culinary aficionados enjoy experimenting with their flavors and aromas, but most forget that many of these plants were commonly used as medicines in days gone by. These plants were photographed in a style reminiscent of the mid 19th century, when few synthetic drugs were readily available, and people used these herbs for more than seasoning food.