Gardens are loved by all–there is something fundamentally human to be found in taking pleasure from a garden. Whether it is a simple plot of green grass in our backyards, flower pots on a windowsill or balcony, the elaborate grounds of estates or public parks, they all hold special meaning and are powerful places to both experience and reflect on life. They offer a respite for body and mind. Gardens embody a site of paradox–they are constant, yet ever changing. In their boundedness they allow us to encounter ‘the wild’ in a safe container–characteristics that are also shared by art galleries. It is no coincidence that the development of gardens and galleries converged from the 16th century onwards; both places allowing nature and culture to be realised in one site.
Garden takes its lead from the Enlightenment thinker Voltaire. After great adversity his famous novella character, Candide, comes to the conclusion that we must cultivate our garden, to find true meaning in life is to tend one’s garden–on both a physical and metaphoric level. Garden brings together a selection of artwork that draws out the aesthetic, conceptual and therapeutic possibilities of the garden and explores why this reoccurring motif provides such a rich source of material for artists and their creative energies.