Art in the gar­den: Plac­ing the right work in the right spot

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

For many land­scape de­sign­ers and home­own­ers, a gar­den isn't com­plete with­out the right art. But how do you find the right spot for a piece of out­door art and choose the plants to com­ple­ment it? The first step is find­ing a work that re­ally speaks to you, and then "al­low the art to help de­fine the land­scape," says land­scape ar­chi­tect Ed­mund Hol­lan­der. He rec­om­mends work­ing with an artist or gallery, when pos­si­ble, to cre­ate a re­la­tion­ship be­tween art­work and gar­den.

"It's re­ally not so dif­fer­ent from the re­la­tion­ship be­tween a house and its sur­round­ing land­scape," he says. Su­san Lowry, coau­thor with Nancy Berner of "Pri­vate Gar­dens of the Bay Area" (The Monacelli Press, Oc­to­ber 2017), says art in a gar­den should en­hance its sur­round­ings. "Scale, tex­ture and light all play off the ob­ject, and there is also an emo­tional con­tent that in­flu­ences how we see the gar­den it­self," she says.

Less is more, she cau­tions: "We have seen many a gar­den ru­ined by too many ex­tra­ne­ous voices jum­bled into the frame." The most com­mon mis­take when plac­ing art in gar­dens, Hol­lan­der warns, is "stick­ing a work where there's too much other stuff. It's as if a mu­seum hung a paint­ing on a wall­pa­pered wall in­stead of on a white one." So ex­perts rec­om­mend that works be placed against quiet back­drops like ev­er­greens, hedges or lawns.

Karen Daub­mann, as­so­ciate vice pres­i­dent for ex­hi­bi­tions and pub­lic en­gage­ment at the New York Botan­i­cal Gar­den, has helped de­sign plant­ings around works by glass artist Dale Chi­huly and others. The prin­ci­ples for se­lect­ing and show­ing art in a home gar­den are sim­i­lar, she says.

"It's nice to go for some­thing as a larger fo­cal point - some­thing you can see from your win­dow and en­joy all year round, and then some smaller works that you only dis­cover up close," she says. "And when you're de­cided where to place some­thing, don't for­get to look up. It's a nice sur­prise to look up and see a per­gola, chan­de­lier or lantern."

Most im­por­tant, Daub­mann says, is to choose art you re­ally love. "Chances are, if you're plac­ing it in a gar­den you have de­signed and planted your­self, it will work, be­cause it's the same aes­thetic," she says. Keep in mind when and from where the work will be viewed. From the kitchen win­dow? The liv­ing room? If you'll be view­ing it at night, con­sider lighter col­ors, she says.

"White glass or white flow­ers make for a great moon­light gar­den, while dark blues will tend to get lost in the evening," Daub­mann says. "A mossy, shaded gar­den can be spiced up quite a lot with light col­ored art." And the art­work doesn't have to be ex­pen­sive. "I some­times find won­der­ful pieces in an­tique shops or at barn sales that re­ally spark my imag­i­na­tion," Daub­mann says.

Hi­lary Lewis, chief cu­ra­tor and cre­ative di­rec­tor at The Glass House, Philip John­son's iconic house and sur­round­ing land­scape and struc­tures in New Canaan, Con­necti­cut, helps plan the in­stal­la­tions there.She says works should be vis­i­ble from var­i­ous parts of the prop­erty, should feel like an ex­ten­sion of the land­scape, and should draw peo­ple in.

For in­spi­ra­tion, ex­perts sug­gest vis­it­ing sculp­ture gar­dens, mu­se­ums or botan­i­cal gar­dens. "There are lots of sculp­ture gar­dens of all kinds around these days, and the com­bi­na­tion of land­scape and art, when done right, can be very in­spir­ing," Hol­lan­der says. — AP

This un­dated photo pro­vided by The Monacelli Press shows "Per Adri­ano" by sculp­tor Igor Mi­toraj in a res­i­den­tial gar­den on the east end of Long Is­land in New York. — AP pho­tos

This un­dated photo pro­vided by the Glass House and the Mor­gan Art Foun­da­tion/Artists Rights So­ci­ety (ARS) shows Robert In­di­ana's "One Through Zero," left, at the Glass House in New Canaan, Conn.

This un­dated photo pro­vided by The Monacelli Press shows Vi­ola Frey's "The Three Graces" in the Rena Bransten Gar­den, a pri­vate res­i­den­tial gar­den in San Fran­cisco.

This un­dated photo pro­vided by HOL­LAN­DER de­sign/Land­scape Ar­chi­tects shows a sculp­ture by artist Robert In­di­ana in a res­i­den­tial gar­den on the east end of Long Is­land in New York.

This un­dated photo shows sprites and col­or­ful leaf-shapes atop bam­boo-like stems are in­ter­spersed with the plants in the Mar­cia Don­ahue Gar­den in Berke­ley, Calif.

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