Whether they are places to grow food or tranquil retreats, gardens have always been sources of inspiration for artists.
Gardens inspired the next Confluence Gallery exhibit, called “Dig It: A Place Where Art and Gardens Come Together.” The exhibit presents art about gardens and art for gardens, and opens Saturday (June 1) with a reception from 5-7 p.m.
“Gardens nourish us, and resonate with us,” said Theresa Miller, who curated the exhibit. “Gardens have always influenced artists and inspired us to be creative in our own expressions of creating space to grow food or a place to rest in a leafy retreat.”
Miller, a master gardener and certified arborist, will bring the outdoors inside during the exhibit’s opening weekend, creating a veritable garden within the gallery. Plants from Wild Hearts Nursery and Methow Natives and flowers from Brightwood Gardens will decorate the gallery and will be available for purchase. Every Thursday during the exhibit, through July 6, fresh flower bouquets from Brightwood Gardens will be offered for sale at the gallery.
The exhibit will present a wide range of art expressing “the concept of what it is to be within a garden,” Miller said. Among the diverse works in the show are a 5-foot-long painting of a man farming, tiny fairy shoes painted on rocks, a metal arbor made of butterflies, and botanical paintings based on female anatomy.
Miller has also arranged a hands-on garden experience on June 23 as part of the exhibit. Participants will be able to visit three local gardens, where they can learn about different gardening techniques — particularly composting — from master gardeners. The gardens can be visited from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on June 23.
The three gardens are different types, including a flat ground vegetable garden, a raised bed garden and a landscaped garden designed to provide privacy. Each garden “is based on composting,” Miller said. Visitors will have an opportunity for “tactile learning … you can get your hands in and feel the soil.” Participants are encouraged to bring gardening gloves.
Locations of the gardens will be provided on the day of the event at 9 a.m. at Confluence Gallery, and participation is by donation. The gardens are near Winthrop and are within easy walking distance of each other, Miller said.
Still life exhibit
Also opening Saturday in Confluence Gallery’s Community Gallery is an exhibit called “The Pantry: Still Lifes of Fruit and Vegetables.”
Susan Donahue’s 15 still life paintings of fruit and vegetables project intimacy and comfort. A still life painting elevates simple things, but a still life itself is not simple nor is the process of creating one, Donohue said.
“Perhaps this is why I find them intriguing, comforting, and finally puzzling. Why give that much attention to an onion? For me, a still life painting asks us to engage with our everyday world and to look closely at the things we see around us all the time and to find their beauty because their beauty is the beauty of our world,” she said.
The series also incorporates works by Methow Valley potters Marcia Ives, Tamera Abaté and Almquist Old Time Pottery, and woodworker Don McIvor.