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The Instant Garden: Charting the territory between the photographic and the virtual
About The Artist
The Instant Garden: Charting the territory between the photographic and the virtual by Lisa Creagh is an attempt to bridge the ‘hand-made’ elements of highly detailed and painstakingly constructed crafts (needlework, lace making, quilts, crochet, etc.) with the techniques of digital manipulation and construction that has emerged with new twenty-first century photographic software.
If the photographic is commonly associated with a decisive ‘trapping’ of a moment within linear time, the rich and elaborate patterns of decorative arts are associated with a very different, cyclical temporality associated with the seasons, and cycles of birth and death.
Using the idea of the ‘instant garden’ created when a richly floral carpet was thrown to the ground in ancient Persia, she creates a new kind of ‘garden’ using composite images of industrially grown flowers. The result is a product of a slow, ponderous process of assembling ‘pieces’. The soft lighting, reminiscent of Dutch Still Life paintings, is used to enhance a sense of distance and deep space as the “real” flower is converted through software into the flower symbol found in many ancient decorative arts.
The artificiality of these organic objects is heightened by their contortions into geometrical shapes. This is not an organic garden, but rather a hothouse of multiply-identical flowers: a stylised and highly ordered scientific space, where small creatures flit in the eerie artificial light. This image of nature controlled is echoed in the etymological root of the word, which suggests an enclosure of nature for man’s intervention.
This work sits in the uncomfortable space between the aestheticization and the exploitation of nature, offering not conclusions, but suggestions about ‘making’ rather than ‘shooting’ and a new relationship between ancient and modern that speaks to both.