SNP’s word of the day: Floration

Illustration by Lewis Mirrett

Illustration by Lewis Mirrett

Word: Floration

Usage: “[Kehinde Wiley‘s] models are photorealistic and the backgrounds are primarily images of what he calls “floration,” stylistic representations from designs that are Islamic, Baroque, and Rococo in origin.” — from the Columbus Museum of Art’s description of painter Wiley’s 2006 show

Meaning: See above. (Wiley made up the word himself.)

You should know it because: Kehinde Wiley is a major art star; I saw one of his works at Art Basel Miami Beach a year (or two?) ago and was mindblown by the harmony of concept (he plucks random young black men from obscurity and paints them like kings, like Renaissance men) and execution (a gorgeous, hot-handed, yet impeccable painting style). In this weekend’s Globe and Mail Style section, one of Wiley’s paintings was featured, and it was there I first read the word “floration.” (If I hadn’t recycled the paper, I’d tell you more.)

“Floration” is a great word for the innovative, anything-but-shy botanicals that burst over catwalks and walls all year long, thanks to long-term floral strategists like Erdem and designer’s designers like Miuccia and Raf Simons at Jil Sander. The latter two thinkers have even got brave men doing the Rococo-garden look. The floral trend has gone similarly bold in decor, and now you can get paintings to match; at the Toronto International Art Fair, I saw so. many. contemporary paintings of still life–style blooms. Are such works ironic? Are they merely kitsch? Does it matter? They’re beautiful.

More Celebrity