Thursday, March 12, 2015

Art and Nature: Artwork Inspired by the Historic Gardens at Duke Gardens

"Spring Blooms," by Sally Sutton.
By Rachel Weber

A visitor need only take a quick stroll through Duke Gardens to appreciate the beauty and wonder of nature. For many local and regional artists, Duke Gardens serves as inspiration for their creative works. This month, we will celebrate these artists. Join us at the Doris Duke Center between Saturday, March 14, and Friday, March 20, to experience artwork inspired by the Terrace Gardens, the Butterfly Garden and the Perennial Allée.

Horticulture has roots in both science and art. From a scientist's perspective accurate observation and communication is the cornerstone of successful horticulture. At one time all scientists drew often highly detailed renderings to record the specific features of a plant, where it grew and what grew alongside it. From the artist's point of view, design abilities and compositional skills are needed to create beautiful gardens.

In the second annual Art and Nature Exhibit, Duke Gardens will feature work by local artists inspired by the Historic Gardens at Duke. The work will include both 2- and 3-dimensional pieces in both representational and abstract styles.

Ceramics by Sasha Bakaric
One of the exhibiting artists is North Carolina native William Alberti, a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists. As a botanical illustrator, Alberti loves the native and exotic plants in the Gardens. But what he is most inspired by is the hardscaping of Duke Gardens--what he calls the Gardens' "bones."

"The bones of the Gardens create a structure for renewal," says Alberti, who was also part of the inaugural exhibit. "Every year things change, all the flowers change, but the bones kind of stay the same."

Alberti says he's excited that this year's exhibit will be open longer so that more members of community can enjoy the display.

Artist Ippy Patterson calls the exhibit energizing and democratic, "a diversity of artists and media and viewers together in a beautiful room celebrating nature's flora."

The exhibit will showcase a diversity of subjects, media and styles, highlighting the varied connections that artists have with the Gardens. Up to 40 works from more than 20 local artists will be on display.

"Blue Heron & Water Lilies," by Kathryn DeMarco
The opening day for the exhibit is Saturday, March 14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. That evening, you are invited to join us for a reception with the artists from 4:30 to 6 p.m., where you can ask the artists questions, discuss their work, and share your own connections to the Gardens. The artwork will be on display until Friday, March 20, at 4 p.m. Admission is free. The exhibit is open during Doris Duke Center hours.

Rachel Weber is junior at Duke University majoring in Public Policy with a certificate in Energy and Environment.

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