February 13 – March 19, 2011
Ethel Sergeant Clark Smith Gallery
Photographs by Rob Cardillo
There is no place closer to paradise than the gardens of Chanticleer. I speak from experience. At all hours, in all weather, I have visited and photographed this landscape, witnessing its splendid scenes of horticultural virtuosity. Each visit revealed a new plant, an inspired combination or, if I was lucky, a transcendent moment of color, light, and botanical gesture. I have attempted to translate and finesse some of those more magical moments through lenses, digital sensors, and software. Finally, I rendered them as they are seen here -- with pigmented inks and archival papers.
Many of the images in this exhibit are part of the forthcoming book, Chanticleer: A Pleasure Garden, written by fellow artist Adrian Higgins, to be published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. Separately and together, over the course of two growing cycles, we chronicled the charms and dug deep into the corners of this amazing forty-eight acres. To that body of work, I have added personal selections harvested from images captured during my long association with the garden.
As a photographer, I am keenly aware that my inner dialogue shapes and directs my experiences and therefore my art. When my mind is full and chatty, I see a world of "things with names" that I quickly dismiss and shuttle off to my mental filing cabinet. But when my mind is less active, my senses are primed and I can better see the more nuanced relationships between plant, sun, earth and water -- a finely threaded weaving of the verdant world into a heart-stealing tapestry. Chanticleer brings me to that place almost every time without fail. I park the car, choose a few bits of equipment, and walk through the gate. And even though I'm weighted with tripod and bag, my load is lifted, my spirit brightens, and my eyes are opened a little wider.
Image: Rob Cardillo, Chanticleer