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Art and Artists

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Imaginary Worlds Wows at The Atlanta Botanical Gardens

Becky

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This month I took a visit to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, one of my favorite spots in the city. What was extra exciting about this visits is that artists from Montreal were assembling the amazing mosaiculture creatures for the upcoming Imaginary Worlds exhibition (it starts officially on May 1 2014). It was so cool to see how they decorate these living sculptures with beautiful colors and patterns completely composed of live plants. 

Here is one of the artists at work.

This amazing lady welcomes at the waterfall. When I walked by a few days later, her hair was all planted in waves of colorful plants. Sorry, I didn’t have my camera on me, but I plan on returning when it’s all done! By the way, this waterfall used to be the entry drive into the gardens and the former asphalt patch has transformed into one of the loveliest attractions there.

I especially loved the way the water fell through her hand.

I’ll be interested to see what they do to cover up the supports underneath, like on this vibrant butterfly piece.

A graceful horse grazes near the orchid house.

The best action was watching the frog being placed into the pond via a large crane and some men in the pond sporting waders.

This guy still needed his head put on. I loved seeing how they made his eye close up:

Watching them work on the cobra was really interesting. You can see how the holes in the netting will hold the plants in place. It really shows how intricate the process is and how much work is involved in putting together each creature. When they are done, you won’t see any of the structural support or the netting at all.

Here’s a start on the back of the cobra’s head and the artists serving as unwitting scale models. It was a bit unnerving to walk between the two giant snakes on the path.

Two intertwined fish rotate in the fountain at the entrance to the great lawn:

Stay tuned, I’ll continue to post photos from my fair city’s beautiful botanical gardens on Instagram. Speaking of, we’re pretty new to Instagram. Please stop by and say hi when you get a chance.

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Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Around the Web – Owls in Residence, Classical-Meets-Hipster

Becky

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Sometimes I forget to share all of the great things I’ve seen around the web that is world-wide. Here are some of the best things that are floating around in cyberspace right now.

image by Kai Fagerström

Loving this project where photographer Kai Fagerström documented all the critters inhabiting this house in the woods.

photo by Katherine Marks for the New York Times

Scoop up a slop sink in NYC for just under $10K? The New York Times reported that buildings are now selling off prime real estate like pieces of the hallway, landings and closets that hold the slop sink for mopping to homeowners in order to keep their costs and thus homeowner fees down. I suppose in a city where space is so tight, that 17-square foot slop sink room could be worth big bucks to most people.

image via Lexington, MA Historic Survey

The Five Fields Community in Lexington, Massachusetts. I knew nothing of this modernist neighborhood spearheaded by a group of architects that included Walter Gropius. The philosophy behind the shared common areas reminded me so much of Randall Arendt’s work.  By the way, I think it sucks that the Boston Globe won’t let anyone read one measly article per month online without subscribing, so I apologize that you won’t be able to read the whole thing without signing up for 99 cents, but this article by Linda Matchan is worth it, I promise.

Photos by photographer Léo Caillard and photo retoucher Alexis Persani

Classical sculptures dressed as hipsters. Thanks so much to my friend Paola Thomas of Mirror Mirror for bringing this to my attention!

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Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

On Display: Pasquale Natale’s Houses

Becky

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Last weekend Friday I had a chance to head down to Provincetown on the tip of Cape Cod. Just a 90 minute ride from where I usually stay in Mashpee, once you hit Wellfleet and Truro, Cape Cod takes on an other-worldly feeling. Ocean on both sides, undulating dunes, wild grasses and the cutest little tiny cottages along the beach you’ve ever seen.

Once you hit Commercial Street in P-town things heat up; drag queens are riding their bikes down the street advertising their shows (be sure to hit Varla’s if you can), bikes ding their bells as they weave down both sides of the pedestrian-overtaken, one-way street and friends call out to friends from the balconies of restaurants and B&Bs.

photo: Becky Harris

For me, the best part of it can be hitting the galleries. While trying to remember where MDV3 Gallery was, I wandered into A Gallery, where they had just set up the show “Home Again: A continuation of the House”  by Pasquale Natale (it was opening that evening). 150 little fabric houses lined a 10-inch deep shelf around the gallery, some of them in handmade boiled wool, others in crochet and more fanciful patterned fabrics. The mini-village was appropriate in this place, where a 100 square foot beach shack is common.

photo: Becky Harris

photo: Becky Harris

photo: Becky Harris

photo: Becky Harris

The little village is not unlike any functioning community; diverse, patched together, some houses standing straighter than others, some more modest in their cladding. I suppose it didn’t hit me I was shaking up the village before the opening by buying one and brining the ranks down to 149 little houses.

photo: Becky Harris

In 1992 Pasquale wanted to reclaim the positive sign, something that had gained such a negative connotation during the AIDS epidemic, and make it positive again. 21 years later with so many advances in medicine made, it’s interesting to view them in a new light.

If you’re headed to the Cape for an early fall trip this weekend (highly recommended; the throngs of tourists have dispersed), be sure to stop by A Gallery at 192 Commercial Street. The show will run through September 10, 2013.  While you’re down at that end of the street, be sure to stop by MDV3 down at 142 Commercial Street, and Adam Peck Gallery across the street at 137 Commercial Street.

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Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Field Trip: The Olson House

Becky

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In Cushing, Maine, on a peninsula that just out into the awe-strikingly beautiful St. George’s River sits the Olson House. This house was made most famous by Andrew Wyeth’s painting “Christina’s World,” which is part of MoMA’s permanent collection. Wyeth and his wife Betsy  became close friends with the owners and Wyeth went on to use an upstairs room as a studio. The Olson House is owned by The Farnsworth Museum, a gem of a smaller art museum in Rockland Maine. Admission to the Farnsworth gets you a pass to visit The Olson House as well, which is about a 20 minute drive from the museum.

photo by Becky Harris

Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth

Betsy Wyeth described the house as “looming up like a weathered ship stranded on a hilltop.

photo by Becky Harris

Today patina style and rustic are very popular, and this old home is just so beautiful you realize it could never be replicated, but it serves as wonderful vernacular inspiration. Its simplicity and wonderful proportions makes it almost modern:

photo by Becky Harris

Its charm comes from a number of things, from the variation on the boards to the old glass used in the windows:

photo by Becky Harris

To the rusty hinges on the doors:

photo by Becky Harris

To the oil lamp inside the window:

photo by Becky Harris

Of course, the bucolic fields of wildflowers, evergreen forests and saltwater river nearby don’t hurt either:

photo by Becky Harris

If you’re ever anywhere near Thomaston, Maine (about two hours north of Portland), I highly recommend a visit.

Learn more information about The Olson House’s hours, admission and directions (watch out very carefully for signs, there’s a turn or two that’s easy to miss)

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Monday, August 12th, 2013

The Island Institute and Photography of Peter Ralston

Becky

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I’m up in Maine right now and this weekend and I popped into The Island Institute’s Rockland headquarters and store, Archipelago. The Institute was celebrating its 30th anniversary and it was not only amazing to hear about all of the great work they’ve done to sustain Maine’s island and remote coastal communities, but also to look at all of the amazing photographs by co-founder Peter Ralston. There was an exhibit and the entire building is filled with them, to which we were allowed rare access.

Clearing by Peter Ralston

Ralston began the Island Institute with Phil Conkling in 1983 with a shoestring budget that has grown to $5 million dollars a year. Around 50 employees work hard to preserve the unique cultures of these special places, as well as help their economies, educational systems, marine management and more. I always enjoy their journal very much and if you are a fan of the coast of Maine, I recommend you join this wonderful organization and help their efforts. When you join, you get a 10% discount at their store, Archipelago, which has amazing made in Maine artwork, jewelry, pottery and other items, like gorgeous blankets from Swan Island.

Spectre by Peter Ralston

Cofounder Peter Ralston is one of my favorite photographers of all time. He can capture fog, boats, still lifes, animals, landscapes, seascapes, photos of houses in such a way that they look like an Andrew Wyeth egg tempura painting … his photographs have documented Maine’s islands and coastal communities for decades.

Glint by Peter Ralston

Learn more about visiting/joining The Island Institute

Noontide by Peter Ralston

Learn more about/purchase the photography of Peter Ralston

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