The de Menil Gallery Archive

Deliquescence and Other Transformations

Large-scale botanical prints by photographer Robert Creamer

The de Menil Gallery
April 6th through June 6th

Robert Creamer has a deep respect for change—its subtle palette and patterns, the surprising structure of decay, and the integrity that graces every stage of life. In a Creamer photograph a browning petal becomes as glorious as the newly opened bloom. The numbered museum specimen transforms into contemporary sculpture. The arresting detail and Baroque luminosity of these photographs are the result of a lifetime behind a camera and a recently discovered technique—the flatbed scanner. Creamer’s careful use of rich blacks or negative space helps emphasize the light of the subjects and allude to the mystery of an ever-present dark.

-----From the exhibit hosted in 2006-07 by the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History. The works now are on display at the de Menil Gallery as part of the Smithsonian’s Traveling Exhibition Service.

The Artist’s Comments
“Photography has been very good to me. Photography most of all has given me the opportunity to explore, be curious, and allowed me an avenue to interpret the world around me as an artist, a teacher and as a professional architectural photographer.
“This new work, which is on tour as a Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition, concentrates on a blend of interests in technology and the aging process. These images were captured using a scanner as a camera. The work began as ‘look what technology can reveal’ to my present command over technique to have it work for me and reflect my intentions. Digital technology is a vital and integral part of this process but is not what interests me most. The scanner is a tool that enhances my ability to observe. These images are about time, transformation and transitions. The new beauty of my subject twists its way out of the familiar. The expansive surrounding deep black becomes graphic shapes that isolate yet allow the subject to merge towards the viewer. It is that, teamed with my imagination that allows me to search, analyze, observe, speculate, and capture the true essence of my interpretations. Working with a flat bed scanner is not without limitations. New procedures and techniques push the artwork and demands growth as an artist. My imagination and determination in conjunction with a new understanding of patience constantly gives birth to new ideas. Concepts of composition and the decisive moment provide new rules to break.”

You can see some of Mr. Creamer’s work at