Wy'East Artisans' work influenced by Oscar Wilde play

Photo Credit: POST PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED  - 'Mt. Hood Lavender,' photography by Rod Stroh.

The Wy’East Artisans Guild will present “Victorian Secrets,” a show of artwork influenced by Oscar Wilde’s play “The Importance of Being Earnest,” Sept. 11 at the Sandy Actors Theatre, 39181 Pioneer Blvd.

Made of local artists, the guild will host the art show reception at 6:45 p.m. followed by the dress rehearsal performance of the play.

“The Importance of Being Earnest,” set in 1890s London, tells the story of Jack Worthing’s double life and obstacles faced in his romantic pursuance of Gwendolen Fairfax.

The art explores how Victorians shared secrets by developing a “language of flowers,” coded communication through the use of flower arrangements.

Photo Credit: POST PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED - 'Reverie,' a watercolor by Vern Groff.

“Interest in floriography soared in Victorian England and in the United States during the 19th century,” said Vernon Groff, Wy’East volunteer. “Gifts of blooms, plants and specific floral arrangements were used to send a coded message to the recipient, allowing the sender to express feelings which could not be spoken aloud in Victorian society.”

The art also will feature musical themes. The Victorian era was a time when music in the home was all live and “public schooling opened young minds to a wider world of poetry, literature and possibilities,” according to the guild.

Groff said the artwork reminds viewers of Victorian formality where methods of communicating deep feelings were delicate.

The play opens Sept. 12 and runs through Oct. 5, with the “Victorian Secrets” artwork on display in the lobby. There is no admission charge, and all donations benefit the Guild’s nonprofit public programs.

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