The story behind ‘Understory’

At 8 p.m. tomorrow (Friday, March 8), the Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community (RAAC) welcomes photographer Jackie Bailey Labovitz, who is presenting “Understory: A Perspective on Painting with Light,” as part of RAAC’s Second Friday at the Library series.

During the month of March, a collection of Labovitz’s plant portraits are also on display at the Middle Street Gallery in Sperryville.

“If a plant blooms in a forest and no one is around to see it, did it bloom?” Labovitz asks. She takes you there, just at the right moment. In each of her photographs on canvas the viewer can see a native plant alive, well and blooming in the forest.

Labovitz has spent half a decade visually scouring forest floors and said photographically collecting often-overlooked botanical jewels beneath the canopy is her passion. Lying flat on the ground, using a long lens, she achieves a naturalistic perspective few get to see.

The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History’s Naturalist Center premiered her exquisite portfolio of photographs in 2010. An expanded collection is currently on view at the U.S. Botanic Garden on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. Later this year, her photos will be exhibited at the National Academy of Sciences’ Keck Center Gallery in Washington, D.C.

The public is invited to hear Labovitz speak and visit her exhibition at the Middle Street Gallery, open through March 31. Middle Street Gallery is located at River District Arts, 3 River Lane, Sperryville. The gallery is open 10 to 5 Friday-Sunday; call 540-987-9330 or visit for more information.

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