Too often we think of the art of landscape as being limited to gardens and earth sculptures of human scale. When we miniaturize, categorize, and seal a landscape under glass, that landscape becomes precious, contained and therefore static. The garden in this form becomes a sacred object-a meditation on the relationship between nature, man and garden.
These specimen jars are inspired by the work of Carl von Linnaeus. Linnaeus was a Swedish naturalist and systemist who lived from 1707 to 1778. He is considered to be the father of modern taxonomy, the science of classifying natural objects. Linnaeus was attempting to create a new sense of natural history. He was insistent on the unity of a taxonomia universalis. Linnaeus felt that naming the elements of nature would help us better understand that unity.
My exploration of taxonomy builds upon labeling and naming to provoke an engagement with meaning. This exploration is vital if the garden is to retain potency for future generations. The "Bottled Gardens of Linnaeus" should be viewed as a taxonomy display of labeled specimen bottles on shelves. The jars themselves are like gems within a jeweler's window display. The ensemble is a medieval cloister garden separated from nature, a unique system of tranquility and introspection. These jars represent a benign and ordered universe, a sealed island within the turmoil of the world. Symbolically, the bottles represent the dual possibilities of nature-domesticated but pregnant with the possibility of destruction. The bottles on their shelves can be read either individually or together. They pose a controlled environment for observation, a means to look at content through a lens.