Ah, the purity of roses in the sunlight! I can almost smell the scent wafting over me. But is that a cigarette butt I see at the bottom of the stem? Oh yes, it is. It seems things are not all peachy keen in Will Ryman’s oversized hyperbolic rose garden. Up at Marlborough Gallery in Chelsea through October 10, these sculptures by Ryman are well worth a wander through this quasi-fairy tale world, if only for the fun of it.
Some signs of garbage and bugs might about, but all the same the rose garden strikes a happily note. How can you argue with ballet pink and Venetian red? The bugs are kind of cute, even the bag of Wise potato chips and the crushed Starbucks cup seem colorful and cheery.
The artist was trying to create a rodent’s perspective on a NYC rose garden, which I have to say makes the experience almost too literal to be interesting. Walking through the clusters of roses makes you aware of their overwhelming stature and it increases your sense of being in some kind of wonderland. One can only think the black aphids and cigarette butts are meant to disturb that experience. It misses that mark, but maybe it is supposed to be more ambiguous than that. Entitled A New Beginning, perhaps this installation is meant to be hopeful.
What do you think?