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Indepth Arts News:

"Images Sprout and Grow at the Gardner: Work by Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey"
2001-10-31 until 2001-12-30
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Boston, MA, USA United States of America

This exhibition presents a new series of works by British artists Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey, who use grass as a photographic medium. Ackroyd and Harvey's photographs cast in grass are created through a photosynthetic print process. Instead of black and white, the images are shades of green and yellow.

Their exhibition, entitled Presence and organized by Gardner Museum Contemporary Curator Pieranna Cavalchini, is part of an ongoing artist-in-residence program that enables artists to study the Gardner's preeminent collection and visitors to experience the work of emerging talent and ideas. Presence will be on view October 31-December 30, 2001.

Canvases of grass will hang on the walls of the Gardner Museum's special exhibition gallery as the artists harness the process of photosynthesis, capturing chlorophyll to fix images in the growing grass. Over time, the images will begin to dry and take on sepia tones. Our work echoes that of the early photographers, comments Ackroyd. And like those early works, ours is a mix of art and science. Regarding the title of their exhibition at the Gardner, Presence, Ackroyd explains, Presence suggests the fact or condition of being present, or a spiritual influence that is felt or conceived as present and, by its nature, presence may suggest absence.

Ackroyd and Harvey have a powerful ability to create visual metaphors about time and visibility, comments the Gardner's Cavalchini. Their work is very cutting-edge and arouses all sorts of emotions about memory, loss and possession. As part of the exhibition at the Gardner, the artists are planning to re-grow one of their most widely known works, Mother and Child, an image of Ackroyd and the artists' young daughter first exhibited in London at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Presence marks the first U.S. solo exhibition of Akroyd and Harvey's work.

Art meets science

Through their work with grass as a photographic medium, Ackroyd and Harvey are fostering a heightened collaboration among the artistic and scientific communities. The two have worked closely with leading scientists at the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (IGER) in Wales. IGER has helped the artists develop their work through the application of a stay-green grass that extends the life of their grass canvases. A November 1 lecture at the Gardner will explore this collaboration of art and science.

Mother and Child, 1998,
Courtesy of the Artists

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