Up the Garden Path, Over the Wall & Into the Sunshine: An assembly of works by Julie Held, Melissa Scott-Miller, Amelia Power and Olivia Baynham

June - July 2021

A long title but no more so than the months we have all endured to find our freedoms again.

 

Gardens live in art. From the Early Renaissance artist Masaccio’s depiction of Adam and Eve being driven out of the Garden of Eden, to the surreal terrors and fantasies of Bosch’s Gardens of Earthly Delights. From Monet’s beloved Givenchy and even Herge’s drawing of Bianca Castafiore, that “Milanese Nightingale”, presenting her passion Captain Haddock with a deep red rose (amusingly hiding a nectar-searching bee which promptly stung the old whisky fired sea dog on his nose). Then, of course, David Hockney’s Arrival of Spring at the Royal Academy, bringing colour and joy back to the wasteland that London’s West End has been for too long.

 

New life, bursting with spring colour, heralding the warm zephyrs of summer. The cycle, the affirmation of continuum. In this world where all things are prone to decay, the beauty of nature remains constant, so full of longing and desire.

 

Gardens, found hanging in Babylon, to the 21st century Manhattan High Line. Roof gardens, secret gardens, urban gardens, water gardens, city parks, window sills and boxes, crevices alive and tickling every sense. It’s life, it’s hope.

 

As Andrew Marvell wrote in his meditative poem, The Garden, (1681): “What wond’rous life is this I lead! Ripe apples drop about my head, The luscious clusters of the vine Upon my moth to crush their wine, The nectarine and curious peach Into my hands themselves do reach; Stumbling on melons as I pass, Ensar’d with flow’rs, I fall on grass.”

 

It summarises a particular reality and escape to the glories of nature (and grass) there to be enjoyed and shared.

 

Nick Crean