NEWS Books with plants

UMass Renaissance Center Features Exhibit by Madge Evers as Part of New Artist in Residence Program

Now through March 15, the Kinney Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies will showcase work by artist Madge Evers in “Foraged: Kitchen Garden Herbaria,” its most recent exhibit in a new Artist in Residence program underway at the Center.

The exhibit is on view at the center during its regular hours, Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., can be viewed. Free parking is available at 650 E. Pleasant Street, Amherst Massachusetts, 01002.

The Artist in Residence program, which is part of the center’s Renaissance of the Earth Project, invites local artists to explore the ways in which their work intersects with Renaissance thought and craft to produce creations that generate new perspectives on the relationship between the early modern world and our own.

Through her work, Evers highlights interdependent relationships across species as she explores the materials in the Kinney Center’s rare book collection of botany books, herbals and gardening manuals.

Evers says she was particularly struck by the ways that mushrooms confound our most basic taxonomies, popping up where we least expect them, thriving even in rotten places. Evers has created herbaria that honor the wild life of mushrooms.

Traditionally, an herbarium is a collection of pressed plant specimens, mounted on paper, and described in detail for farmers and gardeners. Although Evers’ prints also use pressed plants, her technique departs from the herbarium when she places a mushroom, which she foraged from the Center’s grounds, gill-side down, on top of herbs gathered from the nearby kitchen garden. The mushrooms release their tiny powdery spores, leaving an impression of leaves and flowers. Once removed, the plant’s silhouette is exposed with abstract patterns. Each spore print is unique, rendering visible mycorrhizae, the intimate collaboration between plant roots and fungal hyphae which author Merlin Sheldrake describes in “Entangled Life” as “a collective flourishing that underpins our past, present, and future.”

The prints, along with the Renaissance rare books that inspired them, are on display in the Center’s reading room, which also features views of the surrounding gardens, meadows and mountains.

The Renaissance of the Earth is a series of interdisciplinary research collaborations, undergraduate and graduate courses, hands-on workshops, conferences, and arts programming which considers how the early modern past helps us reshape our environmental future.

For more about the Renaissance of the Earth Project, visit