Plants as Art: Horticulture Artist Philip Haas's Magical Creations

Take a tour of one artist's astounding artworks touring botanical gardens across the United States.

Photo By: Image courtesy of New York Botanical Garden, photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

Photo By: Image courtesy of New York Botanical Garden, photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

Photo By: Image courtesy of New York Botanical Garden, photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

Photo By: Image courtesy of New York Botanical Garden, photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

Photo By: Image courtesy of New York Botanical Garden, photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

Photo By: Image courtesy of New York Botanical Garden, photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

Photo By: Image courtesy of Desert Botanical Garden, photo by Jesse Tallman

Photo By: Image courtesy of New York Botanical Garden, photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

Photo By: Image courtesy of New York Botanical Garden, photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

Photo By: Image courtesy of New York Botanical Garden, photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

Photo By: Image courtesy of Desert Botanical Garden, photo by Adam Rodriguez

Photo By: Image courtesy of New York Botanical Garden, photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

Photo By: Image courtesy of Desert Botanical Garden, photo by Adam Rodriguez

Photo By: Image courtesy of New York Botanical Garden, photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

Photo By: Image courtesy of Desert Botanical Garden, photo by Adam Rodriguez

Photo By: Image courtesy of Desert Botanical Garden, photo by Adam Rodriguez

Photo By: Image courtesy of New York Botanical Garden photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

Animal, Mineral or Vegetable?

Inspired by Italian Renaissance artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo's paintings which combined portraiture and still life in a surrealistic style, contemporary artist Philip Haas has created four gigantic busts (over 15 feet) that are whimsical representations of winter, spring, summer (pictured here) and fall entitled "Four Seasons" for the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

Harbinger of Fall

Taking food art into the realm of the fantastic, contemporary artist and filmmaker Philip Haas (Angels and Insects, 1995) pays tribute to the plant world and the human form in his exhibit "Four Seasons." Composed of larger than life fiberglass representations of gourds, moss, nuts, apples, pleated straw and other fall elements, "Autumn" is inspired by Giuseppe Arcimboldo's 16th-century paintings of portrait heads which incorporated flower, vegetable and fish imagery.

A Different Perspective

A bird's eye view of the "Four Seasons" exhibit when it was presented at the New York Botanical Garden in 2013. These three-dimensional sculptures by Philip Haas are made of painted fiberglass and feature oversized fruits, vegetables, leaves and other natural elements.

Winter in Profile

Framed against the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory at the New York Botanical Garden "Winter" is one of Philip Haas' extraordinary sculptures in his exhibit "Four Seasons," featured at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

Rennaisance Redux

Artist and filmmaker Philip Haas has said of his "Four Seasons" exhibit, "I love the idea of taking Renaissance imagery into the natural world." His sculpture "Spring" is evidence of this and brings a new perspective to classical forms by exaggerating the scale, dimensions and materials used in his art.

That Come Hither Look

To appreciate the fine detail and imagination behind Philip Haas's "Autumn" sculpture, you sometimes need to take a closer look at his remarkable assemblages. The acclaimed artist's "Four Seasons" has previously toured Europe (Italy, France, the U.K.) and such U.S. sites as the Desert Botanical Garden New York Botanical Garden and Atlanta Botanical Garden.

The Artist Is in Attendance

Philip Haas, sculptor and creator of the "Four Seasons" installation, discusses his work with a school group at the Desert Botanical Garden where his work was featured in 2012.

The Incredible Blooming Face

A close-up examination of Philip Haas's "Spring" sculpture, composed of fiberglass flowers, leaves and vegetables recalls the Surrealist art of Salvador Dali, Man Ray and Rene Magritte.

Portrait of a Summer Garden

The bounty of a summer vegetable harvest is transformed by artist Philip Haas into a gargantuan, three-dimensional portrait entitled "Summer."  Haas, who got his start as a documentary filmmaker before moving on to feature films, is now a working artist and his "Four Seasons" exhibit has toured the world.

The New Twiggy

Inspired by Giuseppe Arcimboldo's 16th century painting "Winter," sculptor Philip Haas creates his own take on the season by fashioning  a 15 foot human portrait created out of fiberglass bark, fungi, ivy, twigs, vines and moss. The "Four Seasons" exhibit has appeared at the Atlanta Botanical Garden and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri.

Location, Location, Location

The setting and placement of an art exhibit often adds to the understanding and enjoyment of it. For example, Philip Haas's sculpture entitled "Winter" blends in beautifully with the natural terrain of Arizona in this photo from the 2012 Desert Botanical Garden exhibit.

Seasonal Sentries

Visitors to the conservatory at the New York Botanical Garden in 2013 were greeted by the colossal heads of four sculptures by Philip Haas in an exhibit entitled "Four Seasons." Composed of faux vegetation made out of painted fiberglass, the work received mixed reactions that ranged from "grisly" to "delightful." What do you think?

Cornucopia of Spring

This human head entitled "Spring" by Philip Haas boasts rose cheeks, a squash nose, vine eyebrows and red blooms for ears. Haas based his sculpture (showcased at Desert Botanical Garden in 2012) on Renaissance composite paintings by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, stating, "I'm an artist looking at historical art and commenting on it."

First Impressions Count

Philip Haas's 15 foot sculptures representing the four seasons transform the entrance to the conservatory at the New York Botanical Garden into something both magical and bizarre.

Greetings from Arizona

"Summer," one of four magnificent sculptures in Philip Haas's "Four Seasons" exhibit, takes on new meaning when it is transported to a unique setting at the Desert Botanical Garden where the lighting, climate and interaction with nature play a role in how it is perceived.

Movie Stars in an Alternate Universe

As a former filmmaker, Philip Haas brings a cinematic quality to the towering sculptures in his "Four Seasons" exhibit at Desert Botanical Garden. Part of that cinematic quality is due to the set design company Mattes and Miniatures whom Haas also used for his film projects.

Withered Beauty

One art critic reviewing Philip Haas's sculpture "Winter" interpreted it as a homage to Ingmar Bergman's "Wild Strawberries" (1957) with the human-like face composed of fungus, bark and branches evoking an old man reflecting on his life.