“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”
– Audrey Hepburn
So many gardens, both real and imaginary, populate our imaginations: Eden, Paradise, The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, "yard shows" created by African American artists in the American South, Watts Towers, Versailles. The garden creates an idyllic and meaningful space through the organization of nature and art. These man-made utopias provide the makers a sense of purpose and vision, and offer a welcome distraction from the stresses of daily life. Visitors to gardens often enjoy these same gifts and find themselves in spaces equally suitable for reflection or recreation.
The delicate push-and-pull between Nature and artifice creates a realm that is continually evolving and transcendent in ways inaccessible to either architecture or wilderness. The contradictory forces work together and in opposition, spurring a wild dance in the process. The result, in the words of 18th Century landscape architect, Capability Brown, should "supply all the elegance and all the comforts which Mankind wants in the Country and... be exactly fit for the owner, the Poet and the Painter."
In our GARDEN, viewers encounter established and emerging contemporary artists alongside notable self-taught/Outsider artists in an immersive setting created using turf, living and faux plants, special lighting and meandering pathways. Like any good garden, we let our imaginations, materials and space guide us in shaping the scene. Gardens hold mystery and secrets, but most importantly offer us beautiful escapes from the world at large. Reflection, meditation and conversation are encouraged and welcome. Stay a spell.
Sargent's Daughters and SHRINE would like extend special thanks to our partners on the show who have graciously donated materials to make this exhibition possible: