It was my pleasure to meet wonderful Bay-area based artist Anna Valdez and work on the essay for this book as well as to be part of the artist talk and exhibition opening at Hashimoto Contemporary, New York on October 5, 2019.
The second essay from this book was authored by Chad Alligood. The book was published in conjunction with Hashimoto Contemporary by Paragon Publishers.
Here is except from the introductory passage:
Symbology of Anna Valdez
Anna Valdez approaches her still lifes simultaneously as an archeologist, but also as a plant explorer, a gardener, a botanist, as well as a landscape designer. As the former, she reaches back to her scientific training in an attempt to reconstitute elements of our culture through her arrangements of objects. As a plant explorer, first, she grows her subject matter through the selective process of the actual gardening in her backyard and then probes it with her eye. Through observation and visual description of minute transformations in the living things in front of her, Valdez follows the cycle of life with an acute degree of detail.
Valdez brings a searching attitude, vigor and fluidity to the cannon of the still life genre. Flower arrangement was thought of as art through the ages and its depictions by artists is replete throughout the history of Western visual art. The first depiction of flower inside in a makeshift container is from the 14th century BC Egyptian tomb of King Apy: the royal couple sits together holding stylized bouquet of lotuses. The earliest known depiction of flowers arranged in a constrainer in the Western world comes from first century Roman mosaic depicting charming basket of roses. Looking at these fragmentary still lifes we can still imagine the culture that created it…
 Katharine S. White, “Onward and Upward in the Garden,” Ed.E.B.White., New York Review Books, New York,1979.