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Rio Gallery Exhibition Highlights Bonds with Family and Plants

Four artists celebrate their connections with the plants they raise as well as their own family connections in a new exhibition at the Rio Gallery.

Among the artists in Familiar Flora: Four Visual Responses to Living with Plants is Melinda Ostraff and her daughter, Jenny, as well as two daughters-in-law, Elise Boucher Ostraff and Alexis Fryer Ostraff. The four Ostraff women work in a variety of two dimensional media including encaustic, collage, painting, and printmaking. In addition to being artists, they are connected by a love of the plant life that they cultivate in pots and gardens around their homes.

Presented by the Utah Division of Arts & Museums, Familiar Flora will open on March 16 and through May 11 at the Rio Gallery. A reception will be held March 16 during Salt Lake Gallery Stroll from 6-9 p.m. The Rio Gallery is located at 300 S. Rio Grande St. and is free and open to the public Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Melinda is an ethnobotanist and her knowledge and interests have inspired and intrigued her daughters as they have become familiar with her work. They have come to appreciate more fully how plants are an important part of each of our lives. Plants feed, heal, build, inspire, beautify, and provide the air we breathe.

The artists each take great pleasure in venturing into nature and enjoying the plant life that is so varied, vast, and beautiful. On the other hand, a plant that occupies one’s most frequented and comfortable rooms may become as dear as a friend. The artists appreciate this relationship as well as the inspiration that a plant’s form, pattern, and texture provide in creating imagery. They have each provided a selection of work that reflects the relationships they have with plants and their observations about their plants as the subjects of their work.

The Rio & Alice galleries were created as a service to Utah artists. They provide free venues for emerging and established artists to collaborate on exhibits and engage the community through art making and dialogue. For more information on exhibition and other program opportunities visit