The two In Bloom exhibitions that preceded this show were a romantic or poetic reminder for us to acknowledge or re affirm our relationship with nature, with gardens and gardening. In this exhibition, Seeking Eden, Margie is asking us to address these issues once again but at a deeper level, opening up another layer, prodding us into a greater awareness of our relationship with nature. She wants us to look at how this relationship affects both our internal and external worlds.
To this end she has looked at myth and metaphor and in the press release you will note various quotes that have informed the selection of these art works.
Margie’s quotes are provocative; she expects a lot from the unsuspecting viewer and has embraced her task with such joy that it is indeed as if we are in Eden; but she has used opposites to build contrast too.
In terms of stories/ myths the Eden story is about living a life in harmony with our environment, an idyllic life by all accounts until a decision has to be made; a decision that leads to loss of innocence and exposes us to the chaotic life.
The creation myth that precedes this in Old Testament literature is the opposite; it describes how chaos is ordered. They are interactive stories that describe nature and man in a dynamic and cyclical way.
Over the past six or so months while this exhibition has been brewing Margi vaguely mentioned ideas and art works she was seeking and considering. It seemed chaotic to me; too big, too lose, too many different kinds of work made in so many different ways. The creation myth was in evidence, the ordering of chaos not the Eden myth!
Howa was Margie seeking Eden?
If we consider the opposite of chaos, the best word I have found and I think it is from Jung is cosmos; Chaos and cosmos.
In nature and in art there is Chaos; dis order, discord, aberrations; up is down, thinking is inverted, the centre cannot hold (as Yeats describes in his poem; the second coming)
In nature and in art there is Cosmos; synchronicity and a sacred order.
Margie has been on a creative mission, artists from near and far are participating and her careful selecting of images tempts us into a greater world of imagining. The hands on work, embroideries, ceramics, flower installations, paintings in various media, photography and more emphasises the value of art work in itself, aside from the curatorial brief.
Walking this exhibition one needs to suspend time and expectation and circle like a bird seeking images here, there and everywhere, some for their loveliness, some for their angst and weirdness; Follow the paths of the hidden order, for I think there is a cosmic structure to this curating.
After the creation story we enter the Eden story.
In this exhibition there is symbolism, there are references to various mythologies, suggestions of philosophies and psychologies too and also pieces that carry deeply personal messages and insights; some quite literal and illustrative others more aesthetic and mysterious.
Seeking Eden is what we do every day, we lose and find and lose again, especially as artists and gardeners. Moments of Eden are with us, slip away then return, they are given to us by a sun beam or a quiet word in a post office queue, very often by a work of art or a dream.
It is the decisions that have been made here that give the exhibition form, orders the Chaos and seeks Eden.. The story of Eden talks about decision making; as artists, gardeners and in everyday life we seek Eden, make decisions in an attempt to live that life. The metaphor is here too as suggested in the press release; we are encouraged to “re wild the psyche”; perhaps this means that we should take in the chaos, find the cosmic sacred order that connects the inner and outer worlds and through the imagination allow for interaction. The choice we have to value our environment is clearly stated.
Artists are here from near and far, they are youngish and older; thank you all for participating with Margie in this journey. I am sure the joy and imaginings that brought this and us together will enthuse or seduce you into new awareness on various levels.