Tangled Garden continues my exploration of the universal ideal of paradise as a perpetually blooming garden that includes, however fraught, personally familiar and desirable species. Inspired by the 16th century Augustinian cloister frescos in Malinalco Mexico, the completed southern section (2016) depicts introduced and native species in my southern Mexican garden. Malinalco’s unusual grisaille cloister program was based on Renaissance print and tapestry designs, and painted by indigenous artists who included both native and European species. Using local Ontario species, I am currently working on a design for the northern section representing a Canadian paradise. Eastern and Western walls will be completed in the future.
Tangled Garden refers to the1916 painting by Group of Seven artist J.E. H. MacDonald in the National Gallery of Canada. MacDonald painted his Vaughn garden as a tangle of native and non-native species. He combined Art Nouveau linearity in the sunflower’s curve with Post-Impressionist colour and brushwork that the Group championed for the Canadian wilderness. Tangled Garden seems an apt descriptor for a contemporary Canadian paradise with a mix of native and non-native species that is never very far away.
Click here for Tangled Garden