Botanicals, an exhibition of glass by Judith Bohm-Parr
by Judith Bohm-Parr
Botanicals opens on October 1st at Childers Art Space, closes Nov. 22 2015
Life is a continuous journey with a few stops in-between; for some metaphorically, for others literally. As an artist, I find that journeying in both spheres presents inspiration for my art. I am at present at “one of the stops, literally”, having relocated from 22 years in the tropics to beautiful Childers & our new home which we named Xanadoo. The choice of the name wasn’t accidental but influenced by the first verse of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s epic poem “Kubla Khan.”
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round;
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
It paints a vivid picture of the landscape and ideal park-like environment, filled with wonderful gardens and water features, where Kubla Khan builds his summer palace or pleasure dome. To me our new home has the same qualities and has provided the inspiration behind my current exhibition- Botanicals. Mother Nature has been a defining rationale in my art for many years & I never tire of portraying the endless repertoire she presents on every journey. The stunning gardens of this new abode offer unlimited potential for portrayal in glass.
In his later years, Claude Monet found his muse in Givenchy. As a mature artist, I humbly follow in his esteemed footsteps visually & contextually, in my case using glass as the medium to portray changing light, colour & form. Age softens vision, giving a different perspective to everyday objects. My own use of the pate de verre technique acts as a filter that blurs, softens and renders the seemingly everyday with mystical & precious perspectives.
Botanicals isn’t about scientific or vegetal correctness but the vision of an artist who is close to and passionate about a particular landscape- Xanadoo. Just like its mythical namesake it is a haven and wonder that transforms through the seasons.
Each artwork is a vignette or time capsule that speaks of the interaction and layering of elements of nature and the inhabitants of the garden, both human and animal, that tell a visual story. Glass is a special medium and has a great affinity with light. Many of the works in this exhibition are purposed with the addition of light that allows one to look through them to penetrate the inner macrocosm. Stephen Procter, a great glass artist who passed away in 2001, expressed this perfectly when he said:
“Light provides the key both physically and metaphorically, for it is only when the image is struck with light that it comes alive.” Ausglass conference, Canberra, 1993
There are other correlations between glass and art and gardens. To build a cohesive and productive body of work art starts with seeds of ideas, just like a garden. If they are sown in fertile ground and nurtured, they grow to full potential. The labour of expression will sometimes produce a bumper crop and at other times a paddock of weeds. The idea needs to be fed with time, patience, trial & error. As with gardening, the returns will not happen overnight, only in the long term.
So, look closely through the glass and experience my vision of Xanadoo.