TENDING TOWARD THE UNTAMED: ARTISTS RESPOND TO THE WILD GARDEN
Bronx, NY, February 14, 2012– Wave Hill’s signature Wild Garden serves as an inspiration for eight artists who are creating new work in a variety of media, including painting, animation, photography, sculpture and a new media installation in Glyndor Gallery. The artists are particularly interested in the garden’s display of species from around the world, as well as in the tension between the Wild Garden’s seemingly untamed appearance and the intensive activity required to create and maintain it. Works by Isabella Kirkland and Anat Shiftan portray the remarkable variety of plants represented in the Wild Garden, while Julie Evans and Rebecca Morales embrace its diverse plant palette and mix of spontaneity and control. Gary Carsley, Chris Doyle and Erik Sanner capture the stimulating experience of viewing the garden’s varied and immersive terrain; Janelle Lynch shares their interest in the cycles of change represented by the growth, continual maintenance and decomposition of the Wild Garden’s plants over the seasons.
Based on concepts championed by Irish gardener William Robinson in the 1870’s, the Wild Garden achieves a relaxed, serendipitous quality that contrasts with more formal parts of Wave Hill’s landscape. Wave Hill horticultural staff have undertaken a transformation of the Wild Garden in the last year, rejuvenating flower beds, opening new vistas to the Hudson River and Palisades and improving pathways, all with an eye to restoring the balance between the amount of light experienced in this part of the garden and the feeling of enclosure that is characteristic of this garden “room.” The Wild Garden provides a framework for the new art created for this spring’s exhibition.
Gary Carsley is creating an installation of IKEA cabinets that are lined with composite images made up of pictures gathered from successive visits to Wave Hill’s Wild Garden over the past year. His manipulation and reconfiguration of garden views, sections of which are substituted with fragments of faux wood grain, stand in for the artifice of the garden. Based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Sydney, Australia, Carsley has exhibited at Breenspace, Sydney; Art Gallery of New South Wales; and the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane. He is represented by Margaret Thatcher Projects in New York, NY.
Chris Doyle’s new animation piece is drawn from images of the Wild Garden that will be presented on a pair of screens arranged like an open book. The artist uses animation to explore the concept of wildness and our cultural desire to preserve, untouched, bits of our environment. This work is part of a larger project that contrasts the savage with the civilized. Doyle is a multidisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn, NY. His work has been shown at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY; The Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke, VA; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, MA; MoMA PS1, Long Island City, NY; The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY.
Julie Evans’s project—painting/collage on mylar—emphasizes the fine balance between natural abandon and careful cultivation as they relate to both the garden and her working process. To create her vibrant, evocative works on paper, the artist pours water-based media on mylar; gravity and chemistry cause the media to spread and flow. She then cuts out and reassembles abstract shapes into clusters of growth. Evans is based in the Hudson Valley. Her recent exhibition Cowdust: Julie Evans and Ajay Sharma, Collaborative Paintings was on view at Julie Saul Gallery, New York, NY, in 2010. She had another recent solo exhibition at Rambagh Palace in Jaipur, India, which was curated by Peter Nagy.
In her photographic series for this exhibition, Janelle Lynch is interested in the natural cycle of decay. She will display large-format photographs of composted debris from the Wild Garden. Lynch is based in New York and her photography of the urban and rural landscape has been widely exhibited and collected. Her book Los Jardines de México was published in 2011 and her photographs from that series were on view at Boston University’s Photographic Resource Center.
Los Angeles-based artist Rebecca Morales is creating a large gouache and watercolor painting on calf vellum drawn from her interest in moss and lichen. This imagery is combined with colorful representations of floral prints. She is also exhibiting a hyper-resolution, stop-action film that reveals the unfolding of the painting process. Morales’s work was on view in a two-person show at Bravin Lee Programs, New York, NY, in January 2012. She has also been featured in exhibitions at Daniel Weinberg Gallery and the Hammer Museum, both in Los Angeles, CA.
Isabella Kirkland’s monumental canvases typically feature flora and fauna, painted life-size from first-hand observation to ensure accuracy of detail. Departing from her usual scale and process, for this exhibition the artist is making a group of framed watercolors measuring approximately five inches by seven inches. These images are drawn from photographs that she has taken of the Wild Garden. Kirkland is also producing a three foot by four foot oil painting of the magnificent view seen from the garden, with representations of endangered or threatened species of insects, birds and other animals in and among the flowers. Kirkland lives and works in Sausalito, CA. She has had solo exhibitions at Feature Inc., New York, NY; the Toledo Art Museum, Toledo, OH; and the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC.
Erik Sanner is presenting a new media installation that involves computer-generated video based on time-lapse photography of the garden shot from spring to late summer. This mix of images results in an unpredictable, ever-changing montage that will be projected onto the artist’s paintings of the late summer garden. Sanner’s project expands on his technique of creating “moving paintings” by focusing on a specific site, in this case the variable landscape of the Wild Garden. He has had a solo show at Carmichael Gallery in LA (2011), and is represented by LICHT FELD in Basel, Switzerland. Sanner's work is included in the East Wing X exhibit at the Courtauld Institute in London through July 2013. He has received two Manhattan Community Arts Fund Grants from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.
Anat Shiftan is creating an index of plants in the Wild Garden, by making a series of columnar, ceramic vase forms that are glazed with botanical drawings in manganese brown and black. The shape of the forms is modern but the porcelain and cobalt technique refers to traditional ceramics. Shiftan is an Israeli artist living in New Paltz, NY. Her work was included in two recent ceramics shows at the Clay Art Center in Port Chester, NY, and at Flushing Town Hall in Queens, NY. She has had solo exhibitions at Greenwich House Pottery in New York and The Clay Studio in Philadelphia.
Schedule of Free Public Programs
All the public programs listed here are offered free with admission to the grounds, and do not require prior reservation.
Sundays, June 3 and July 22, 3PM
These informal talks in the gallery offer the public an opportunity to hear artists discuss the work on view, the ideas that inspired them and their artistic process.
A Director’s View of the Wild Garden
Thursday, June 28, 1PM
Don’t miss this special tour of the Wild Garden with Director of Horticulture Scott Canning. Gain some fascinating insight into the planning and management required to keep this garden so “natural”.
Guided Gallery Tours
Tuesdays and Saturdays, 2PM
Saturdays, April 7, May 5, June 9, July 21, August 8, 1PM
Combined Gallery & Wild Garden Tours
Century-old “Naturalistic” Landscape
A century ago, George Walbridge Perkins and his Viennese-trained gardener Albert Millard designed the gardens of Wave Hill, uniting three separate properties into one estate through plantings and new physical structures. With formal beds across what is now the Lower Lawn, a rose garden where our Flower Garden now flourishes, kitchen gardens below Wave Hill House, fewer trees and straight paths throughout, the Wild Garden stood out not just as the highest point on the estate, but as a destination to discover. Photo credit Mick Hales.
Saturdays, April 28, June 23, July 7, August 4, and on Monday, May 28 (Memorial Day), 2PM
These tours will be led by an exhibition interpreter and a gallery guide.
Walks on the Wild Side
Thursdays, April 12, May 10, July 12, August 9, 2PM
Special tours of the Wild Garden with Horticultural Interpreter Charles Day or Assistant Director of Public Programs Laurel Rimmer introduce visitors to William Robinson’s concept of the “Wild Garden” in seasonal context. Discover why, more than a century after his book The Wild Garden was first published, this naturalistic style of gardening is even more relevant than ever.
Wild Garden-related Family Art Projects
Saturdays, Sundays, 10AM?1PM
April 14, 15: Go Wild Garden/Un jardin salvaje
April 28, 29: Primitive Prints/Impresiones primitivas
May 19, 20: Shake a Flower, Wear a Garden/Dándole forma su jardín
June 9, 10: Playful Petals/Pétalos juguetones
June 30, July 1: Glow a Wild Garden/Ilumine su jardín
Reservations required, online at www.wavehill.org, onsite at the Perkins Visitor center or by calling 718.549.3200 x305.
Drawing with Abandon: The Wild Garden and Beyond
Wednesdays, March 7, 14, 21, 28, April 4, 11, 1–4PM
Explore the visual language and fundamentals of drawing through direct observation of natural forms in Wave Hill’s cultivated gardens. Class participants work with visual artist Wennie Huang to generate carefully observed and expressive imagery using a broad range of approaches and traditional media, including pencil, charcoal, pen, ink, color pencil and wash. Series fee: $180 Member/$210 Non-member.
Garden Woodworking Workshop: Build a Rustic Garden Tuteur
Saturday, April 14
Inspired by the wooden structures in the Wild Garden, construct a “tuteur” (a.k.a. tripod trellis) under the expert guidance of master carpenter and Wave Hill Facilities Manager Frank Perrone. Use rustic branches and simple tools to create a one-of-a-kind piece for your garden or large container. No previous carpentry skills needed.
Series fee: $35 Member/$50 Non-member. Registration required. 1?4PM
The Art of Collage
Wednesdays, April 18, 25, May 2, 1–4PM
Inspired by the Wild Garden, participants explore the art of collage, building on traditional, layered-paper-and-glue creations by incorporating observational drawings, rubbings, found objects, mixed media and text. Artist Paul Lambermont leads open-ended discussion of art on view in Glyndor Gallery and visual investigation of the garden and woodlands. Series fee: $90 Member/$105 Non-member.
Writing in Nature
Thursdays, April 19, 26, May 3, 10, 17, 31, 12:30–3:30PM
“To learn about a tree, go to a tree,” wrote famed Japanese poet Basho many centuries ago. Guided by his advice, writing coach and former New York Times editor Joan Motyka works with participants to more acutely observe and write about individual plants and trees, as well as the general impact of the landscape, including color, texture and design. Reading and discussing selected nature writers enhances the experience.
Series fee: $180 Member/$210 Non-member.
HOURS Open all year, Tuesday–Sunday and many major holidays: 9AM–5:30PM. Closes 4:30PM, October 15–April 14
GALLERY HOURS 10AM?4:30PM
ADMISSION $8 adults, $4 students and seniors 65+, $2 children 6–18. Free Tuesday, Saturday morning until noon. Free to Members and children under 6.
DIRECTIONS–Getting here is easy. Located only 30 minutes from midtown Manhattan, Wave Hill’s free shuttle van transports you to and from our front gate and Metro-North’s Riverdale station, and the 242nd Street stop on the #1 subway line. Limited onsite parking is available for $8 per vehicle. Free off-site parking nearby with continuous, complimentary shuttle service to and from our front gate. Complete directions, shuttle bus schedule at www.wavehill.org.
Support for the Visual Arts Program is provided by the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc., the Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation, Dedalus Foundation, Inc., The New York Community Trust, and with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Sustaining support for Wave Hill is provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
Restoration of the Wild Garden has been made possible, in part, by The Leon Levy Foundation.
Target Free Days–Target sponsors free Tuesday and Saturday morning admission to Wave Hill, providing public access to the arts in our community.