Over on Burnaway Magazine, there’s a new article up that I wrote about visiting folk artist Howard Finster’s former home and garden in Summerville, Georgia. The artist created an area full of folk art, religious text, and junk intermingled at every turn, and visiting is a fun daytrip from Atlanta or elsewhere in North Georgia. Seeing the artist’s work here, as opposed to a museum, clarifies where the artist was coming from in both a literal and figurative sense, and strengthened my appreciation of his work. I’ve included more pictures here, and just follow the link to read the article “Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden Continues to Thrive” on Burnaway.
I visited Paradise Gardens in June. Now that I’ve gotten back from a long vacation (without a computer–possibly not the best decision I’ve ever made), I hope to catch up and posts of some of the things I’ve seen soon.
The Atlanta Botanical Gardens currently features four portrait busts representing Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter by contemporary artist Philip Haas towering 15 feet above its green lawns. These enormous fiberglass Seasons are equally as bizarre as the Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1526-93) paintings that they derive from. Although the original format of these portraits was small and intimate, it seems in tune with Arcimboldo’s Baroque style to place them as large garden ornaments.
The busts retain the curious mix of expressiveness that teters between exuberant and menacing. The looming size no doubt adds to the menacing aspect. Of the four, hoary and regal Winter was my favorite–rather than mere fancy, he looks like a tree come alive. Should you have a chance to visit the gardens though, a second exhibition called “Imaginary Worlds” shows you even more anthropomorphic vegetation. Large animals and such have been formed out of shaped vegetation, continuing the Baroque fantasy on the grounds. Both exhibitions are up through October.
Currently up at the University of Georgia, Rachel Clarke’s Terra Incognita video provides a zen enticement into the gallery space at the Lamar Dodd School of Art as part of her show Unmapping. The video projects quite large on the far wall in front of a bench, and loops between a white unmapping and black mapping of sorts.
I heard the artist speak about the process of making this work, starting with real maps–American road maps–and digitizing them. Scanning their parts and lines into different parts in Photoshop, Clarke then animated their movement in a deconstructive process that then reverses in the second half of the film. The journey alluded to by maps becomes a transformed journey of movement through the layered lines and marks of maps. For Clarke what was equally important was the traces of the original map and scanning process in the final film, marks of the artist’s hand and materiality that ostensibly are lost in the digital medium.
[Note: I wish I knew why the video is displaying on the far left. Embedding videos in self-hosted WordPress, anyone?]