The walled garden, or hortus conclusus, has a long tradition in the histoy of art. The term originates in the biblical verses of the Song of Songs, “Hortus conclusus soror mea, sponsa, hortus conclusus, fons signatus” (“A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse; a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed up.”) While most often used as a setting within which the Virgin Mary would be situated, the walled garden also functions allegorically as an idyllic retreat, a tamed representation of nature, and a symbol of inward focus and spirituality.
The idea of the walled garden parallels contemporary concerns as well, from the situating of art objects within the white box of the gallery to the isolation of internet traffic within social network sites such as AOL, Facebook, or Apple iOS systems.
This exhibition aims to present threads of the metaphor through an intergenerational cross section of artists using the language of landscape manifested in an array of media.
Dike Blair’s hybrid sculptures invoke a landscape of form, light, and technology, using the tension between 3 dimensional objects and illusionistic space. Lois Dodd’s easel paintings are situated between realism and abstract expressionism, transforming the observed world into formal painterly order. Using the topography of North London,Tom Fair’s drawings portray an arcadian pictorial realm. His gestural graphite lines energize these windowlike views. Landscapes emerge in Barry Stone’s photographs of children’s toy packaging. Magical potential is reclaimed through the direct re-representation of fantastical environments developed as pop culture marketing.Travess Smalley imbeds digital language into the making of his photographs by shifting filters and layering image upon image. Using the Huntington Gardens in Pasadena, CA as a starting point, Smalley alters a heavily curated “naturalist” setting with contemporary tools. The realms of the spiritual enter the show through Arlene Shechet’s sculptures of glazed clay – hollow vessels containing an “emptiness” ripe for mindful exploration.