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You never bought me flowers so I gave you a garden

HOT reporter Cathy Simpson contemplates Erin Veness’s installation at The Space, St Leonards. 

Erin Veness is a well-loved member of Radiator Arts,  sculptor and installation artist. Her garden consists of several areas of natural turf, into which are ‘planted’ hand crafted paper flowers, while the weeds of St. Leonard’s proudly provide a natural organic backdrop to the handmade flowers. This is a poignant piece about lost love, forlorn hope and the perennial pain of rejection; an excerpt from a friend’s letter to an ex lover, attached to the exterior wall, completes the installation.

View of garden under construction

The areas of turf, their size and their exquisitely crafted contents, evoke thoughts of a garden of remembrance; an impression strengthened by the peace and serenity of the space they occupy.

The juxtaposition of handmade and natural flowers exemplifies the beauty of loving care on the one hand, and the beauty of neglect on the other.  The final poetic sentence of the letter also emphasizes the fundamentally personal symbolism of flowers:

‘I left a rose at the bottom of the big black sea, for you, from me’.

This is an exceptionally beautiful piece of installation art; the flowers take many forms and are lovingly crafted using handmade papers whose subtle colours glow against their background.

Paper flowers, of course, carry connotations –  all the way from the fantasy world of Evanescence:

“In my field of paper flowers
And candy clouds of lullaby’…

through to Spielman & Torre’s:

“But they’re only imitation
Like your imitation love for me”

Or Peter Hammill’s:

“The petals which were blooming
Are just paper in your hand…”

Or maybe we should heed E for Explosion’s proclamation:

“Paper Flowers Never Die!”

For this is a piece which allows the viewer to wander, in both a literal and metaphorical sense, to explore memories and re-experience past emotions.  Its temporary nature is symbolic, for not only will the installation end, but the flowers themselves will gradually be destroyed by the elements, reflecting the transitory nature of experience and emotion.  Which is a very good reason to go along and experience this amazing piece of work for yourself, while you still can!

You Never Bought Me Flowers So I Gave You A Garden is on display at:

The Space
Kings Road
St Leonards
(Near Warrior Square Station)

until 10 September 2012

Erin’s work can also be seen online here.

Posted 08:43 Saturday, Aug 25, 2012 In: Public Arts,Visual Arts

Also in: Public Arts

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