Scott McFarland

Inspecting, Allan O'Connor Searches for Botrytis

Sometimes in our desire to be eco-green warriors we forget what an unnatural art form gardening can be. Without our almost daily care, even the most naturalistic garden will soon began its progression back to a common field.

Canadian artist Scott McFarland reminds us of this symbiotic alliance between humans and plants in this series of photographs I came across the other day.

As a magazine garden editor who has spent years striving (unconsciously?) to keep the more mundane, behind-the-scenes work invisible from magazine readers, I appreciate McFarland's unromantic revelation of what all goes on backstage before the curtain to the general public rises.
From his gallery:
"The space of the garden has long been affiliated with that of photography - many early photographers experimented with the cumbersome, expensive medium by photographing their immediate outdoor surroundings; McFarland has suggested associations between the idiosyncrasies in garden maintenance and those of photographic development processes. Both gardening and photography utilize the same basic elements; light for exposure and energy and liquids for hydration and processing."

Cutting on a Slope 2002

Analyzing, Ryan Otto Conducts Water Test 2003

Filtering, Peter Harrison Changing Water Pump

On the Terrace Garden, Joe and Rosalie Segal with Cosmos atrosanguineus, 2004

Spraying, Norman Whaley Applying Aphid Solution, 2004

Trimming, Late Summer, Sarwan Thind 1999

I Know Why the Caged Zucchini Sings

Colonel Summers Park Community Garden, Portland Oregon.
6:15am, July 16, 2009

(with apologies to Maya Angelou)

Aspen Wildflowers (from my recent trip)

Last week I went to Aspen to see my dad and stepmother and to have a mini-family reunion with my siblings and their families. As on other visits, I was struck by how pristinely beautiful the landscape and the wildflowers are there. Plants have such a short growing season at these high elevation but the flowers seem to make up for it by blooming almost all at once. Lilacs, peonies, columbines, roses and all the native flora blossom concurrently in a setting that is so perfect that sometimes it seems faked in a Disney sort of way. I had to remind myself it was real. The surfeit of exercise, lack of oxygen in the air and Mahler's marathon 5th symphony at the Aspen Music Festival don't help to make a visitor's head any clearer. All together, it might be too much for a sensitive species of Pisces.

These photos were taken along two of my favorite hiking places: Maroon and Crater Lakes and the areas around Independence Pass. Thankfully my camera work allowed me to rest along the hiking trail while looking like I wasn't resting.

Above: Hummingbird with Wyoming paintbrush (Castilleja linariifolia), Aspen

Click photos to enlarge

Tiny clumps of blue gentian on top of Independence Pass, elev. 12,000 feet

Roadside flowers, Independence Pass

Snowmelt with cow parsnip (Heracleum sphondylium) and bitter cress (Cardamine cordifolia), Maroon Lake, elev. 9,597 feet

On the way to Independence Pass

Some sort of alpine pea, Independence Pass

The Continental Divide

Scarlet paintbrush, Maroon Lake

A tight clump of alpine mertensia hugs the ground, Independence Pass

Blue Lupines, near the ghost town of Ashcroft

Bumblebee in a green gentian aka monument plant (Frasera speciosa), Maroon Lake

The giant corn lily or false hellebore (Veratrum tenuipetalum), Maroon Lake

Cow parsnip (Heracleum sphondylium)

Meadow of green gentian, or monument plant, (Frasera speciosa), Maroon Lake

Diamondleaf saxifrage (Saxifraga rhomboidea), Independence Pass

It's hard to resist the obligatory aspen trunks shot. It's a favorite of hotel lobbies and restaurant bathrooms all over Aspen

Mystery flower, maybe some sort of blue gilia, Independence Pass

Tundra pools with marsh marigolds (Caltha leptosepala), Independence Pass

Valerian(?) at sunset, Maroon Lake

Subalpine arnica (Arnica mollis), Maroon Lake

Chad at Maroon Lake

Flood Plain by Mike Marshall

I guess I've been feeling artsy lately.

Mike Marshall
Flood Plain, 2009
Framed C-print
110 x 150 cm
via Union Gallery, London

"In the large scale photograph Flood Plain (2009) an arrangement of pot-plants sit amidst a vast expanse of scorched, cracked earth. Purchased from a garden centre in India, these plants were photographed and then left behind to presumably wilt, die and possibly be swept away towards a distant sea."

Katrin Sigurdardottir—New Work

My good friend, the artist Katrin Sigurdardottir, has two beautiful shows up in New York at the moment. I don't want to risk interpreting what she is up to for the sake of misrepresenting her (and reveal myself as the art-world nincompoop that I am).

I will simply say that I immediately see two main interests: a love of landscape (especially in the folding, mossy, volcanic hills of her native Iceland) and a sense of scale change that is at the same time both playful and haunting. These photographs are from the Greenberg Van Doren Gallery show which closes August 21st.

Greenberg Van Doren Gallery
730 Fifth Avenue (near 57th St)
New York, NY 10019

Her other show (images below) is at Eleven Rivington and closes this weekend, July 3. Like all her work, the large wooden house with it's infinity mirrors set in the tiny gallery space has to be seen in person to be fully appreciated.

11 Rivington Street
New York NY 10002

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