Monday, July 9, 2012

Forest Art

Whimsy is not my style. But, after visiting Bruce Munro's light installation at Longwood Gardens, I’m thinking more and more about garden art. You know, everyday stuff cleverly remade into objects of beauty. 

I can do that.

My relationship with art began in the 5th grade, when I learned that I could draw people. I drew pictures of little girls with big eyes. 
The bond took a turn toward weird when I entered art school at 18, and learned that my ideas about art were hopelessly outdated. Chasing “meaningful” concepts, I got lost in mental mazes. Secretly, I still liked things that hung on walls, although peer pressure had some influence (big-eyed girls were now sources of extreme embarrassment, for instance). 

But over the years, framed art has lost much of its allure. First I stopped making it. Then the pieces that held me in their power became increasingly rare.  

And yet, in my heart, art remained a valued friend. I saw pattern in the land, rhythm in the garden.
I discovered Andy Goldsworthy—arrangements of leaves and patterns of sticks that last for days or minutes. Moments of wonder that bring together the earth and sky. 

I began to appreciate the artist as medium, offering up powerful new ways of seeing what is before our eyes.

Lately … and fortunately, landscape art has gone beyond gnomes on rocks, and beyond Christo’s wrapped coast installations. The measure of its success is its power to hold one transfixed before a scene.

A suspended ball makes the reflection as real as the object itself. 
Jenkins Arboretum, 2011

A field of lights twinkles and sways like sunlit grasses in the wind.
Longwood Gardens, 2012

Bent spokes on a fence compel you to pause and see what lies beyond.
Chanticleer, 2010

Flower-lights meander dreamily through a field. 
Longwood Gardens, 2012

Magical birches underscore the hugeness of a forest of oaks.
Jenkins Arboretum, 2011

There are framed prints, photos, and drawings on my walls. Most carry valued associations.

But experiences of open-air art now hold greater power. Who knows … maybe, in time, I’ll appreciate whimsy.

1 comment:

  1. Some great ideas I can certainly use here at my gardens on the shores of Lake MIchigan. Very creative ideas. I enjoyed my visit and have taken some of the ideas in these photos and will now see if I can "copy" them! Great visit. Jack