I love sculpture in a garden. Plants in a landscape, beautifully grown, can evoke awe, pleasure and respect for the beauty of nature. But like no other element of a landscape , sculpture is a product of human intelligence, imagination, and emotion, in a physical form. This sculpture I made for a community fundraiser; each participant was given a fiberglas tiger as a starting point for a sculpture, which would then be auctioned. I looked at the building-its color and its form, for an idea that would help me place it in that particular landscape.
My tiger is camouflaged in varying heights of tall, grass-like, enameled steel rods. It looks right at home sitting in that ocean of steel and concrete-or does it? There is the additional suggestion that an urban landscape can imprison, or send running for shelter, all manner of living things-not just tigers. This is my imaginative construct, not a process of nature.
Thus I try to design spaces for sculpture that augment gracefully whatever feeling they elicit from me. I may design a small perennial meadow for a client who remembers growing up in a rural area, and has good memories of their relationship to that landscape-but one small sculpture may have the power to conjure that time , and imbue the landscape around it with that memory. I always ask clients what resonated with them, what precipitated their choice of sculpture. This helps to design the space for them in a way that has emotional meaning-not just horticultural meaning.
This beautiful pair of 19th century iron bloodhounds, cast by Alfred Jacquemart for Barbezat & Cie at the Val D’Osne foundry in France, circa 1865, are regal and elegant in their own right. The landscape designed for them is is tall, and thickly planted; the property is screened from any view, save straight up the drive. This pair stands watch at the driveway entrance; they speak to the emotional issues of refuge, privacy, and the safety of home.
The table and chairs reminiscent of gingko leaves and steel twigs and vines go far beyond utility to sculpture. Sculpted of steel, concrete and mortar, this is not just a place to sit. The viewer can imagine who might sit there, and for what reason. A crisply and simply designed landscape , with a beautiful shape of lawn, gives space to a sculpture that lets us see the world through the eyes of that artist. A table for 2, waiting for company and conversation-that’s a good description of of sculpture in a garden.