23 June – 22 August 2001
Curated by Su Ditta
This exhibition was inspired by Heironymous Bosch's elaborately detailed paintings created in the early 1500's. At first glance this famous triptych inspires pure pleasure, its opening panel a fantastical garden paradise replete with frothy fountains and sparkling ponds, magnificent bubbles, giant strawberries and magical creatures frolicking with delight. A second look reveals the nightmarish undertones of Bosch's parable of sin and damnation.
This medieval morality tale uses the garden paradise as a lesson and a warning. The works in Earthly Delights: Deep Gardening also use the garden as the centre of a message, but go much further, exploring how media artists in particular have approached the complex social, political and psychological structures Western culture has developed around the concept of the garden. No longer simply an escape, a utopian dream, these works posit the garden as a site for cultural and political investigation and critique. Traditional images of the garden as paradise, untamed wilderness or as container, bounty and playground, this construction of nature, "culture's nature," is stripped away by artists who work with the most "unearthly" of technologies.
Toronto new media artist David Rokeby will premiere a site specific piece that simultaneously moves in and out of doors to track the construction and deconstruction of our own Gairloch Gardens on conceptual and temporal planes. Lisa Steele and Kim Tomczak's delicate video projection Method on the Run challenges the cliched language of both gardening and political discourse. A program of single channel videos that explore everything from secret lust and voyeurism to acid rain and environmental degradation include works by Shani Mootoo (Her Sweetness Lingers), Rhonda Abrams (Lament of the Sugar Bushman), Joanne Bristol (Flower Theory), Michèle Waquant (The Pond/L'Êtang), and Mike MacDonald's (Touched By the Tears of a Butterfly).