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Catch these portraits now before they bloom.

Hyper-realistic minimalist artist Laura Fantini’s “Hope,” an exhibition of intricately detailed pencil-on-paper drawings of seeds, will be unveiled during a free open house at the Queens Botanical Garden in Flushing on Tuesday, Jan. 9, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A total of 30 still life frames — all of which are 10×10 inches and 16×16 inches and depict tree, flower, and plant seeds that Fantini collected from the Queens Botanical Garden, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Park Slope, Prospect Park, Upstate New York, Staten Island, Mexico’s Cancún, and her native Italy – will be on display along with a larger piece at the gallery’s entrance.

Smooth and almost photographic, the seeds appear in their actual sizes along with leaves, pods, blossoms, and anything else that was attached to them upon discovery. At close perusal, the viewer notices thousands of pencil strokes that create rich tones with almost 3-D ridges and shadows.

Fantini has a long-time fascination with seeds and she has created a larger body of work that she also calls “Hope.” She told QNS that she enjoys the feeling of using a pencil and it allows her to make realistic depictions.

“Seeds are much more than what you see,” Fantini said. “They are so small, but what they do is so big…It’s hope for the next generation…It’s positive.”

In the same vein, she added that she hopes viewers understand the power of nature in her small pieces.

As part of the exhibition, Fantini will show people where she found some of the seeds and discuss her passion during a “walk-and-talk” at Queens Botanical Garden on Sunday, March 25, at 2 p.m. A seed expert will be on hand to provide extra information. After that, a closing reception is planned for April 14, and the art will come down from the walls on Sunday, April 29, at 2 p.m.

Fantini, who splits time between her native Bolonga in Northern Italy and Brooklyn’s Park Slope, has exclusively used colored pencils for the past 20 years. She has exhibited many times in both countries, including Milan’s Museo della Permanente, the Hunt Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and the Staten Island Museum, as well as England, Japan, and Portugal.

Images: Laura Fantini

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