The idea of sculpture in a garden greatly appeals to me. Not that I mind museums. I was taken regularly as a child. If you pushed me, I could describe certain rooms, paintings and sculptures at the Detroit Art Institute fairly accurately. The medieval sculptures of the saints-my Mom could never figure out why I always wanted to go there first. As an adult, in my top ten list of most memorable experiences include the Carravagio exhibition at the Met in NYC in 1985, and the Lucien Freud exhibition at the Met in 2000. Unforgettable. These exhibitions were worth driving to New York to see.
But given my choice, I would prefer to be standing in a meadow over a museum. In a gully over a gallery. An art object that keeps me company outdoors-this I really like. I have seen Henry Moore sculptures outdoors in both private and public collections. In the mid 80’s I lived in New York just one block from a Richard Serra sculpture-not that it moved me particularly. But there it was, in the landscape. The lion sculptures outside Tiger stadium delight both the kids and adults that see them.
This is all by way of saying that I have had exposure to fine art in museums, galleries, private homes, and parks. I happen to believe that fine art is all around me, outdoors. Lots of that-courtesy of nature. Shopping for a client recently, I parked my car near a row of mature Bradford pears wreathed in nut brown fruit. I had never really looked at that fruit before. If you are the person that was waving me out of the road that day-I can only say those trees laden with fruit stopped me in my tracks.
A Henry Moore sculpture is not in my future-no matter. Sculptures made from grapevine would fit right into my garden. These life size grapevine deer are made in California-woven over steel armatures. The standing Buck, the grazing Buck, the doe and the fawn-what garden does not have room for one, or a group of them? Some may say they are craft-and they are finely crafted. But I don’t find the need to make that distinction.
Some sculpture might never be at ease in a garden. But these grapevine deer seem to make themselves right at home. I suppose that is as much about the material as it is about the subject matter. Grapevine is a wiry and sturdily independent material. How this California company manages to make sculpture from rigid welded steel forms and wild vines-astonishing. Grapes grow independent of your issues, or mine. Constructing sculpture from such a willfully uncooperative material cannot be that easy. No grapevine grows parallel to its neighbor. These deer sculptures may not be within shouting distance of a Henry Moore sculpture, but they please me.
Sculptures such as these easily accomodate a little holiday decoration. Each figure is hand made, and assembled by one artist from start to finish. The grapevine is thoroughly sealed to prevent the vine from deteriorating. This needs be be repeated once a year.