Garden Stories - Opening Reception

Garden Stories - Opening Reception

Aug 3, 2023 - Sep 8, 2023

"I have been thinking a lot about gardens. Over the past few summers, for example, the amount of warmth and rain where I live contributed to fine gardening conditions, and everything has grown in profusion. But conditions were localized - elsewhere, climate change brought about record-breaking heat, wildfires, flooding and generalized catastrophic variations in the season. So even as I observed the bursts of colour and form in our own little border, they felt somehow tenuous and unstable, like a fine but undeserved gift that was awkwardly received.

In general, gardens are redolent with symbolism in many traditions. As the nexus for creation stories or as a focus for earthly representations of a heavenly paradise, the rich associations connected with garden imagery reach across time and cultural specificity.

But there are ghosts in our gardens, too, in the way that gardens echo the history of humanity in the world. The cultivation of gardens often implies the desire to subdue and control, bringing together both nature and culture with all the perceived benefits of that union but also with all of its conjoined historical destructiveness as well. Gardens are loci of growth and decay, not only in terms of natural materials but also in terms of the ways in which we change our understanding of the relationship between the organic and the built environment over time.

Despite everything, there is hope in gardens. As another winter has come to an end, I have found myself longing for the first signs of the promise of spring. I hope that these pictures embody for others some of that hope and promise." - Michael Black

Artist's Background:

Michael graduated from the Ontario College of Art (now OCAD U), in 1984 and holds a Doctorate in Education from the University of Toronto (2003). For 30 years, he worked in education. Michael has shown his work in Toronto, Charlottetown, Port Perry, Creemore, Thornhill, Port Hope, Ottawa, Peterborough, Thornbury and Meaford. His work is held in many collections.