Joseph Mougel’s Herbarium project is a series of photographs inspired by plant archives and the desire to capture and preserve things that comprise a place. Living plants, both native and introduced, are contained or surrounded by floral-patterned teacups, plastic shopping bags, darkroom equipment, and scientific instruments, and further contextualized with patterns from domestic life like wallpaper, curtains, and embroidered tablecloths.
Together these components describe narratives of transition, colonization, and the exploration of the prairie. Mougel’s photographs illustrate moments of wonder, of not fully comprehending or seeing the world as a place of magic, as well as attempts to describe and analyze nature. This tension between the miraculous and the understood describes a journey of discovery, and an environment filled with mysteries for curious people to explore.