The paintings of Hilary Irons, she explains in the artist statement for “Orb Weaver,” her show at Dowling Walsh Gallery in Rockland (through May 1), revolve around “shapes in the natural world that counter the human need for pattern and clarity, through the disruption and surprise of the non-human form.”
This is certainly true, especially as expressed by the plant world, which forms the foundation of Irons’s visual vocabulary. There is no shape in the universe quite like a dandelion leaf, a fern, a bee balm flower or a thistle. They don’t hew to exact geometries, even though one can see repetition of similar patterns throughout the universe; for instance, in a mountain laurel, a five-pointed star and a five-fingered hand.
To Irons, “Plants communicate with each other … through processes that are invisible to us. What they do offer us is shelter, medicine, nourishment, beauty, ugliness, poison and resistance. … Through enveloping ourselves in those specific non-animal shapes, we can sometimes start to hear the message that the plants are broadcasting.”