Garden, 2005

Working on this piece I was thinking of the nature of gardens and how important they have been in my life. During my childhood our family moved several times, but what remained constant was the garden that my mother tended. Digging the ground was my father’s responsibility and often-unusual treasures were unearthed. One of those discoveries was hundreds of human teeth that had been buried over a 40-year period by a former occupant, a dentist that had his practice in our house. In Garden I have used covered corncobs piled up in a chaotic fashion, to revitalize that memory.

In Canada the growing season is short and intense and at the end of each summer the crops are harvested, plants uprooted and the earth tilled in readiness for winter months of cold and snow. This is a time to marvel at the beauty of exposed roots and take time to loosen the soil, wash away the dirt and preserve the root form which normally is seen so briefly and discarded. I think about the cyclical nature of this activity and how it can be seen as a metaphor for death but with the promise of yet another spring and another garden to be regenerated.

In Garden, I have focused attention on the root systems of plants by presenting them in a backyard plot, upturned, revealed and articulated through my manipulation accenting their form and colour. The warm pinks are to reflect on the exotic colouring of Australia and the cooler greens are to represent my garden in Edmonton. Adjacent to the plantings are other natural forms to suggest the trees and shrubs, which are perennial and never have to be uprooted and replanted each season. The cloth scrims above the garden protect the plants from the strong sun and the painted walls suggest a protected urban garden rather than the spacious gardens of acreage living.

The Garden can represent all gardens that I have experienced both in childhood and in my present life, for produce to be harvested each season and, as the actual material used for constructions in my art practice.

Dimensions variable, height 96 in, width 180 in, length 224 in
Mixed media installation: sunflower, beans, tomatoes, dill and corn roots, corn silk, rose petals, lime grass, dogwood, moss, rhubarb seeds, willow, dogwood, corn cobs, hand-made sisal paper, wax, latex, steel, plaster and paint.






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