Carmen Almon is an artist that uses copper sheeting, brass tubing, steel wire and enamel paint to create botanical art. Carmen Almon uses not the traditional means of artistic expression such as paint and canvas to create her evocation of the world of nature, but rather is unique in her choice of metal as a medium. Her art is to capture the fragility of a moment in time, a stage in a plant’s life, and often the moment of its encounter with the world of insects. It is this singular originality combined with her profound artistic vision that creates the works of art that are avidly sought by discriminating collectors both in the United States and in Europe.
Carmen Almon works between Mexico and France, where the countryside is an endless source of inspiration. Sheet copper, brass tubing, cuticle scissors, a soldering gun and oil paints are magically used to create not botanical replicas of nature but rather her personal interpretation of her memory of a particular plant, flower, branch or bud. One is reminded somewhat of the beautiful illustrated botanical books of the 17th and 18th century – Linneaeus, Ehret, Redouté – which Carmen often refers to for inspiration. Because each piece takes so long to complete, few are realized each year, which makes them rare treasures.
Carmen, who grew up in Washington, DC and Barcelona, now resides in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico with her husband Thierry Job, also a sculptor. Her work can be found through her gallery, Octavia Art Gallery.
Carmen Almon goes to the essential, presenting her botanicals as sculptures on bases, allowing us to contemplate the upward thrust of life towards light, rooted in the dark earth. Here we are in front of these botanical tole pieces, that glorify the beauty of Nature in progress.
The beauty starts with what is never shown: the roots. Then brings us to its achievement: a flower, or a fruit. Dark and light. Buried and visible. From these rough roots emerge stems that culminate in flowers of delicate beauty or perhaps a ripe fruit.
Carmen Almon makes us travel through time, we discover a tomato plant with the same wonder as those XVIth century botanists did in South America. Have we ever contemplated an artichoke, an eggplant, a poppy in its singularity and integrity?
There is no hierarchy in her work, she shows us with the same passion garden flowers as well as weeds. Some pieces could very well be moments of “urban botany”, like those plants growing at random from the cracks and corners of our cities.
Despite the time and effort her sculptures require (that you don’t notice), Carmen Almon’s “tour de force” is to capture an ephemeral moment.
For beyond the volume itself, the painting is what characterises her work. Carmen Almon is a painter upon volume, a difficult task, since she tries to evoke a vibrancy… It is the reason why we have a sense of irreality… but it could be true… and ultimately, it doesn’t matter.
Real or not real. What is true is her interpretation of Nature, both naive and curious, both fragile and strong.
Marvel of Peru with Green Grasshopper
Dark Blue Iris with Ornithoptera
Stylised yet hyper-real, delicate yet constructed from tough materials, Carmen's flowers are both alluring and mysterious - even, it seems, to her.
Christopher Stocks, House & Garden
Once I understand the system by which a plant grows, it pretty much grows by itself out of the metal.
Faux-Liage, The World of Interiors UK, July 2022
Carmen Almon Creates Beguiling Floral Sculptures with Nail Scissors and Pliers, Architectural Digest, May 2018
The magical world of Carmen Almon, House & Garden, December 2016
Floral Inspirations, Martha Stewart Living, October 2016
Poetic and Lifelike Botanical Sculptures, T Magazine, October 2015
Carmen Almon, The Naturalist, T Magazine, August 2013
Photo courtesy of Ngoc Minh Ho, from her book
Photo courtesy of Sude le Barbey, from Plant: Exploring the Botanical World
Carmen Almon & Emily Farish, Octavia Art Gallery, December 4th - December 30th, 2021
New Works, Octavia Art Gallery, May 4th - June 29th, 2019
Wildflowers, The Chinese Porcelain Company, May 3rd - May 17th, 2018
Nature in Progress, The Chinese Porcelain Company, October 29th - November 19th, 2015
The Art of Tole, The Chinese Porcelain Company, August 2013
Photo courtesy of Natalie Fong Malis