Art in the garden has freedoms and challenges. We have to expect nature to intervene: the elements will work upon the piece long after the artist has put down her tools.
Sarah Emily Porter’s Anatomy of Colour has a permanent home in an English flower meadow. Vistors approach through the grasses and flowers along a narrow path mown to a clearing, a few metres wider than the sculpture, encouraging all round access. It would have been possible to clear the ground underneath the framework, setting the artwork on a plinth. This more enlightened approach allows living plants to become part of the artist’s palette.
Flowers and grasses flourish within the boundaries of the sculpture, softening its lines, colour blocks and angles – so far as thistles can be said to soften anything, that is! I’d love to see a year’s worth of images to understand how autumn and winter interact with the sculpture.
Eight trellis squares, fashioned from timber fixed in different geometrical patterns, are spaced out to create a layered cube. Each slice is finished in a period shade of exterior gloss paint – red, green, yellow, cream, pink and various blues – in homage to the Victorian heritage of the Broomhill Art Hotel.
Walking round the sculpture gives a sensation of playing cat’s cradle with an object that doesn’t move. Add in the life and movement of the meadow flowers and we have a kinetic-static piece that alters as the wind blows and the viewer’s perspective changes.
We can forget capturing anything but a filtered moment in a photograph for light is an actor in all this too, muting the colours, sharpening their contrasts and skewing their values as the day progresses. Still, I had to try.
Anatomy of Colour became part of the Broomhill Art & Sculpture Foundation collection after winning the judges’ 2018 National Sculpture Prize.
Shared as part of Becky’s July Squares