Caitlin La Dolce | Soapbox Arts | Shows | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice


Caitlin La Dolce

When: April 8-30 2022

“Overgrowth” is the title of Caitlin La Dolce’s exhibition at Soapbox Arts in Burlington. That could suggest any number of unruly developments, but this artist’s subjects are plants. Though most of her works in colored pencil or acrylic contain a single specimen, that sense of containment is illusory. These are not your grandmother’s houseplants. Nor do they quite belong in Little Shop of Horrors. La Dolce’s botanicals, rendered in hot pinks and oranges and virulent greens that nearly leap off the wall, splice reality and fantasy. They are beautiful but strange. They look like they know things. They might be dangerous. “I consider them to be hybrids born from carnivorous plants, mycelium, the human body and synthetic waste materials, to name a few,” La Dolce explains in an email. “The origins of these are most definitely a deep visual study of botany, ecology and biology, but the final results are very much from my own imagination.” Like Georgia O’Keeffe and other artists before her, La Dolce has found the power of the feminine in plant form. The shapes are curvy, vivacious, voluptuous; some are suggestive of reproductive organs or genitalia. The titles of some paintings speak to a tenacious fecundity (“Primordial Soup Vessels”), yet the artist also hints at the misdirected efforts of science (“Northeastern Cyborg”). Viewers might read into these works a commentary on Frankensteined nature. Yet La Dolce, a native of Craftsbury who currently lives in Knoxville, Tenn., doesn’t aim to lecture. Rather, her exhibition represents the best kind of proliferation: creativity.