I am delighted to have some paintings in the stables at Houghton Hall this summer, represented by Contemporary & Country who are showing work under the title Avant Gardeners.
1 May – 25 September 2022
Avant Gardeners : Celebrating the horticultural and the cultivated landscape behind and beyond the garden wall.
Gardening is seen as a national pastime. England has a reputation for the variety of its gardens and the informal balance of its designed landscapes. Nowhere are these expressions of cultivated creativity more evident than in the verdant gardens and parkland of Houghton Hall, which during 2022 is marking its 300th year. Art has been a vital component. Houghton Hall’s permanent contemporary collection continues this story. It will be the first time Contemporary and Country have configured an exhibition that directly compliments the gardens and park at Houghton Hall.
While Avant Gardeners cannot reflect the full diversity of East Anglia’s horticultural heritage, the art and objects encompassed by the exhibition will show how artists and makers take their ideas from the garden, the seasonal cycle, plant studies, harnessing natural processes that encourage growth or that aid decomposition or conservation and exploring how nature can be ‘improved upon’.
Some have focused their attention on the animals, birds, and insects, taking advantage of the sheltered conditions a garden provides. Others have been attracted to the expanse of coastal marshland and its mitigation of the effects of inundation by the sea, while another group have turned their gaze on the confines of a neatly arranged allotment or herbaceous border.
The exhibition has been prompted by the book ‘Enticing Paths’, a collection of essays that focus on Norfolk’s extraordinary horticultural history, published by Norfolk Gardens Trust, edited by Roger Last.