1 January 2009

Colour fields

Since an online visit to Monet's garden, we have been keeping an eye out for visible sunflower fields, blurry haystacks, poppies, or any other plantation bringing a splash of colour to the satellite landscapes. So far, although our efforts have hardly been persistent, there has been little success. However, an actual drive through the real terrain of West Auckland a few days ago, taking the scenic route home to avoid an accident on THE BRIDGE, led us to this industrial ROSE GARDEN with its softly dappled pink and blue smudges - and an excellent light-flare off a greenhouse roof. Jumping into street view, we couldn't help admiring the spectacular FUNNEL OF CLOUD caught in the sunset.

It seems to be a garden summer with the Auckland Art Gallery opening a delightfully electic (eccentric?) exhibition, The Enchanted Garden, not long after former gallery director Christopher Johnstone launched his own book on gardens in New Zealand art. Of the many delights unearthed from the collection vaults by curator Mary Kisler, there is one of the gallery's six views of MALTA's impressively terraced fortifications painted by Alberto Pulicino while still occupied by the 'Knights of Malta'.

Of particular interest in Johnstone's book is the early depiction of now long-gone homes, and their surrounding grounds, in what have mostly became dense, urban areas. Of these historic garden estates, a few survive, including Sir George Gray's mansion at KAWAU (depicted by Alfred Sharpe and Constance Cumming) and ST JOHN'S COLLEGE in Auckland (depicted by John Kinder) retains many early features. It is interesting to note that the extensive plantings Colin McCahon (and family) made and painted at their Titirangi house were probably influenced by time he spent working as a gardener at the WELLINGTON BOTANICAL GARDENS. Jumping back into STREET VIEW, we can almost replicate his works depicting the Titirangi House through the trees.

Leigh Martin, best known for abstract work, is included for his floral 'noise' paintings. Whilst studying in Glasgow, Martin is said to have spent much time in the local Botanic Gardens, including KIBBLE PALACE and particularly the NZ flora section. He also met the late Derek Jarman, whose shingle garden at PROSPECT COTTAGE near Dungeness (also home to a nuclear POWER STATION, an excellent set of sound mirrors, and is an important ecological site) is well known, and just as striking to the ear (audio here) as to the eye.

Image: One of many images of Derek Jarman's Garden available on flickr and similar websites.

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Art from Space is an exploration of art-related phenomena that manifests in interesting ways on Google’s aerial maps. It is also an experiment in curatorial practice; collecting, presenting and contextualising items in ways that users can explore, free of curator-imposed framing and sequencing. This blog is Art from Space’s developmental musings made public, where items are introduced to the project in real time, rather than awaiting the grand unveiling of a completed exhibition. Specific locations of interest are highlighted in CAPS and linked to a map for further exploration. Visit the mother ship HERE.