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Dornith Doherty
From the series Archiving Eden
Digital chromogenic lenticular print
26 ½ x 46 ½ inches
Courtesy of the artist, Holly Johnson Gallery, and McMurtrey Gallery
© Dornith Doherty. All Rights Reserved

In this picture, Dornith Doherty uses the preserved seeds of sorghum, rice, beet, and wheat plants to create a dynamic picture. Worldwide, these plants are ancient and important ingredients in making distilled liquors, which is probably why the title of this photograph is Thirst, though the title may also refer to the fact that liquid is a crucial element for unlocking the potential of these seeds. The artist’s images of multiple seeds suggest the vitality as well as the fragility of these tiny nuggets of life. While the seed vaults she visited are bunkers that are built to withstand extreme weather, physical impact, and electrical failure, the seeds themselves are not indestructible and have varying life expectancies. To express this tension, the artist chose to use the lenticular process to make her prints. The effect is difficult to show in reproduction, but in person you would experience the visual effect of a shifting surface that changes colors. The large scale of the image and the contrast with the tiny seeds perhaps reminds us that there remain many powerful forces in the world, both big and small, over which we hold only the illusion of control.