The pictures you see here are not, as you might think, photographs of wildflowers. They are images of the remarkably lifelike, painstakingly detailed art of Trailer McQuilkin, whose wildflower sculptures are a blend of several artistic techniques. The product of this art form is unique; each sculpture is one of a kind, with its own individuality and its own beauty.
A native of New Orleans, McQuilkin has lived and worked in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, for the past 35 years. In 1969 the artist began experimenting with methods of creating metal wildflower sculpture. He soon found that imitating nature − which many have held is the chief function of art − is a difficult process. He steadily gained mastery of this new complex form and continues today to hone his skills, refine his materials and techniques while expanding his vision of the next sculpture.
McQuilkin uses sheet copper, copper wire, metal primer, oil paints, and natural materials in his work. His techniques include cutting, soldering, incising, and painting. Each step is performed with uncompromising attention to detail. Each sculpture has special challenges. It takes from two to five months to complete each piece. A careful examination of the finished sculpture reveals the tiniest fibers, the slightest discoloration and even an occasional insect-bitten leaf. His work is a completely original documentation of nature, trompe l’oeil art in the best sense.
McQuilkin, who is largely self-taught, has achieved the highest level of skill and artistry. Therefore he produces complex and beautiful microhabitats. His work has taken him from the North Pole Basin at Crested Butte, Colorado, to ranches in Texas to the wetlands of Georgia. His meticulous study of each plant and his rare talent have left us a great legacy of these fragile plants and their environments, which many of us will never have the opportunity to see. His collections will continue to amaze, delight, and educate the viewer about these threatened plants.
Dr. John Cullen