Tonight has been a lovely night for secrets. The crowds were out for what was a lively and exciting opening for Secret Garden, an exhibition co-curated by Sophia Cai and Caitlin Shearer. This is an exhibition that, like the plants that inhabit it, grew organically. With 22 artists represented it is a broad range of works all exploring the essential and magical relationship between people and their plants.
Unlike Sophia, I have rather a large number of plants fogging up my home and giving it a positively tropical vibe, but like her I understand the commitment, responsibility and dedication that goes into raising plants, they are critical to our mood, our aesthetics and our very lives. Curators are gardeners of a sort, their relationship with artists should be a two way street, with one nurturing, delicately pruning and displaying, and the other essential to their existence. However without curators we would be foraging through a forest of artists, which is fun for a time, but there is an art to caring for plants. Like an artist curates compositional elements on a canvas, curators paint a picture for the viewer to interpret within the gallery space.
This is an exhibition that goes beyond the bounds of the art itself, including plants and flower arrangements to add to the overall atmosphere and create an immersive experience for the visitor. It is exciting to see young and upcoming artists and curators collaborating and embracing a wide variety of styles and mediums. To get in on the secret I would recommend checking it out and reading Sophia’s curatorial statement:
Secret Garden: A Study and Appreciation of Plants
Schoolhouse Studios, Collingwood
October 1 – October 18