Cora Li-Leger — Multitudes
In Vivo is the fifth temporary outdoor exhibition organized by Z·inc Artist Collective at Darts Hill Garden Park. Z·inc & Friends invite the public to experience this spectacular natural setting in poetic and unexpected ways.
Z·inc & Friend have created two collaborative pieces. Multitudes is located in Bed 29 and Sanctuary is in Bed 19. You can download a printable site map of the garden here.
Z·inc & Friend — Multitudes
The various pieces comprising Multitudes respond to our collective awe and fascination with large aggregates: such as fields of flowers, forests of trees, herds, packs, murders, droves, colonies, schools, mobs, and more.
These aggregates can be menacing – as in swarms of insects; elegant – as in the murmuration patterns of birds; and comforting – as in ‘safety in numbers’.
Here we pay respect to the many multitudes surrounding us within Darts Hill Garden.
My contribution to the collaborative piece “Multitudes” was initially inspired by two volumes of “Horticultural Colour Chart” (1941) in Francisca Darts’ library. The need for standardized colour terms is part of the framework for accurate description of plant species i.e. plant taxonomy – naming and classifying as methods to understand. Using the contemporary standardized Pantone colour system, I recorded the colours of dozens of plant species (flowers and leaves) in May at Darts Hill Garden. The colours were painted on plant labels similar to ones used for labeling plants at Darts, with scientific nomenclature for the species and RGB colour designations.
A mass of cones tied together with jute, leaving a tail, lying on the ground, suggests the form of an animal curling up, a possum perhaps. For survival the tree produces multitudes of cones and the opossum produces multitudes of progeny.
This contribution to Multitudes could also be called Respect for the Elders, V2 – as this piece is comprised of strands of magnolia carpels that I used in last seasons’ Panoply exhibition. For this iteration, I rearranged the carpels much more densely, to mimic something like a fungus spreading at the base of a tree. The carpels were all gathered at Darts Hill Garden, which boasts a fine ‘multitudinous’ collection of magnolias.
Cora Li-Leger — Jan Storer, with special thanks to Kathryn Beattie
The two pieces for Multitudes were made from prunings found in Darts Hill Garden, augmented with some prunings of our own. Not knowing our desired end result, we simply began tying bundles together, trusting that they might ‘speak’ to us – an improvisational process. We aimed to pay respect to various plant materials found throughout the garden – materials that were past their prime but still full of beauty. We like the contrast of these materials together, both in tightly bound bundles that form a ladder or a scroll, and in more free form bunches that are suspended and capture the breezes.
Garlic stalks are beautifully white once the several layers of skin are slipped off. A gathering of these lovely white stalks brings to mind a cluster of mushrooms on the forest floor. And, as vampire visitations to Dartshill Garden are a well know phenomena, these garlic stalks will serve to protect the Multitudes from ‘vamdalism’.
Inspired by the wire baskets and other structures protecting plants at Darts Hill Garden, we have created several pieces that speak to our individual interpretations of “sanctuary”. They converse with each other over their commonalities and differences, and reflect the over-arching concept of giving shelter or being sheltered. We have installed this collaborative piece in a protected area of the garden to echo the many ways in which Darts Hill Garden functions as a sanctuary.
My work is inspired by the wire baskets protecting plants at Darts Hill Garden. Made of ceramics, twigs, wire, I created pieces that protect and that are protected.
Birchbark is a material that holds many memories for me of cherished experiences as a young person while spending time in the lake country north of Toronto. The woods by the lakes were full of the white canoe birches. It goes without saying that the bark itself tells the story of sanctuary in nature.
Cora Li-Leger — Jan Storer
As with Multitudes, we took an improvisational, rather than a conceptual, approach to this theme. From the pruning pile, we chose some lovely white magnolia branches. The branches themselves conveniently dictated how they wanted to come together to hold a sanctuary space for a nest-like gathering made from finer tips of the branches. The moon snail shell, though not from Darts Hill, also holds a sanctuary inside its spiral.
Willa Downing — Mimic
I’ve been fascinated by “Biomimicry”, an area of innovation inspired by Nature in the manufacturing of new materials, harnessing of energy, new approaches in medicine, computing etc. Instead of Nature as something to be subjugated and exploited, Nature is seen as teacher and mentor. I explore this concept, from the practical to the metaphorical. I mimic this rhododendron tree as I echo its weathered branches, not by using real branches but by using manufactured objects (manufactum: made by hand) inspired by these natural structures. Perhaps seeing Nature as guide will enable our species to fit in more harmoniously on Earth.
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Z·inc gratefully acknowledges the support of the City of Surrey’s Cultural Grants Program and the Darts Hill Garden Conservancy Trust Society.