Beatrice Glow is a New York- and Bay Area-based multi-sensory and interdisciplinary artist whose work explores the social history of plants. For her first exhibition in a major U.S. museum, Glow delves into the unseen and unsavory sociohistorical and ecological realities underlying the tobacco industry’s veneer of luxury through her digitally printed and embroidered silk textiles, VR-sculpted and 3D-printed objects, watercolors, and scent experiences.
In exploring the global uses of tobacco, Glow questions the embedded histories of visual culture by critiquing unresolved injustices wrought by colonial desires to profit from the lucrative tobacco trade. The artist weaves together tantalizingly decadent surfaces with imagery derived from historical sources, and examines the networks through which tobacco spread across the world.
While the works initially appear as a celebration of opulence, closer inspection reveals the cascading impacts of colonialism, capitalism, and inequitable trade networks.